Blues Pills are a band I’ve heard some great things about in passing, their faces appearing in the pages of Classic Rock or passing through in a support capacity for another blues acts. The four-piece multi-national band fronted by Elin Larsson makes for some easy listening. At last, they’ve arrived with their self-titled debut album.
I can appreciate a bit of the blues. Rival Sons are steeped in it. Free drew heavily from it. Hell, you can hear it in most guitarists worth mentioning. However, with it not being my “go to” type of stuff, it makes a nice change of pace when it comes around.
The first thing I heard from them is opening track and lead single “High Class Woman”. Driven by a thunderous bass line from Zack Anderson before the rest of the band make themselves known, it’s one of the songs with a harder edge. With a song like this, it’s difficult to believe Blues Pills are a band making their debut album. There’s a sense of refinement which speaks throughout the entire record as if they’re a lot older than a group of twenty-somethings.
Throughout the album, Elin Larsson displays a rich, soulful voice, reminiscent of Beth Hart at her best. And it’s just as captivating and flexible. At times it’s tender and soft whilst it’s raw and powerful at other points.
When the band drop several gears and become as raw as they possibly can, it’s where they shine best. Songs like “Astralplane” and “River” amble from their start to finish at their own pace. Dorian Sorriaux’s guitar solo during the former shows his talents to their full extent. I can only begin to imagine in a few years time he’ll be regarded as one of the best up and coming guitarists.
“Jupiter” sounds like the hit Led Zeppelin couldn’t find time for during their best years. Drums from André Kvarström are as frantic as John Bonham’s, the guitar wails like Page and the vocals are just as throaty as Robert Plant, full of similar peaks and valleys.
Elsewhere “Ain’t No Change” is one to get the head nodding with the bass throbbing, pushing the song forward. Meaty and aggressive, it’s possibly Anderson’s finest moment on the album.
With the year virtually at a close and no new releases for its remainder that come to mind, combined with another great year for albums, I feel it will be a little overshadowed. That said, it’s enough to turn me into a fan and I’ll be keeping an eye on them.
After a UK headline tour last month and special guests to Rival Sons’ UK tour this week, they’re back in full at the start of next year. I think I may just have to go.