Alabama Shakes’ 2012 debut, Boys & Girls, was an auspicious one, earning 3 Grammy nominations and a gold record. Sound & Color, the band’s second release, debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart. Lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard has already established herself as an electrifying presence both on stage and in the studio.
Leading off with the title track, I could tell Sound & Color wasn’t going to be a carbon copy of its predecessor. With its retro sound, it sets the tone well. Next comes the undeniably killer groove of “Don’t Wanna Fight”. This was the first single and it’s not hard to see why. This is one of those songs you want to hit replay on. Howard’s passionate vocals make it even more compelling.
Working with a different producer this time (Blake Mills), the band avoids being pigeonholed by the sound of that first album, which fell mostly into a Southern rock/ soul vibe. Here those elements mix with R & B and gospel as well. Among the other standout tracks are “Future People”, “Gimme All Your Love” and “Gemini (which clocks in at over 6 minutes and is hard to describe- just give it a listen). However, there is no filler here.
With Howard’s undeniable presence as a singer and frontwoman, Alabama Shakes were not going to be a flash in the pan. With Sound and Color, they prove they are going to be even more of a band to watch in the coming years.
Alabama Shakes will perform at Artpark on September 22.
01. Sound & Color
02. Don’t Wanna Fight
04. Future People
05. Gimme All Your Love
06. This Feeling
07. Guess Who
08. The Greatest
10. Miss You
12. Over My Head