Blues Pills – Lady In Gold
Release Date: August 5, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
There is nothing more exciting than when you think you know where a band is going to take you musically and lyrically only to have all your expectations tossed aside and to be taken in a whole new exciting, and provoking direction. That is exactly what Blues Pills did with Lady In Gold. Instead of building upon their Janis Joplin-esque psych rock that has put them on the map, Blues Pills decided not to play it safe and to take things into a whole new and totally unexpected plane.
Lady In Gold sounds as if Blues Pills maybe even made a deal with devil and for one album found themselves possessed by the long gone spirits of the great blues/soul performers of old. Lead vocalist Elin Larsson sounds as if she is channeling the spirits of Memphis soul singers long passed on while the band as a whole sounds like they spent time studying the art of the great Staxx Records, Fame Studios, and Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section styles. If that’s the case, than I guess I can safely say that Lady In Gold is the exorcism where all of these spirits were released from within them.
The opening track and lead-off single, “Lady in Gold”, is a soulful, warm, groove oriented jam that totally sets the tone for just where this album will take you. “I Felt A Change”, with it’s gorgeous organ arrangement, was so moving and it was something that I could hear Ray Charles belting out from behind his dark glasses in a smoky room while “Bad Talkers” sounds like it very well could’ve been the best Aretha Franklin song never made. If this song doesn’t have you grooving and throwing your hands up to testify, well, there is no hope left for you at all. To pick any particular stand out tracks is nearly impossible because as a whole, this album from start to finish is flawless. Lady in Gold ends just as bombastic as it started with a rollicking cover of the obscure Tony Joe White song “Elements and Things.” By the time the song was over, I felt exhausted and felt like I needed a cigarette or something.
Lady in Gold is an uncompromising collection of songs that is chock full of stank, relentless energy, and more southern fried soul than you can shake a fried chicken leg at. Listening to this album, I can nearly feel the humidity, the blood, sweat, and tears that went into each and every song on this album. With Lady in Gold, Blues Pills made the album that they wanted to make. Hell, they made the album that they needed to make. Instead of living up to expectations of others and taking a predictable route, Blues Pills dug even deeper into their influences and channeled something dark, soulful, powerful, and yet beautiful and turned it into something spectacular. In my opinion, not only is this the best Blues Pills material to date, this is an album that has set the bar to a virtually untouchable level.