“Hold On”, the first song from the album Boy and Girls is fantastic.
Powered by soulful vocals and a catchy guitar, the song is something new, innovative and a summary for what to expect from the album.
The band, The Alabama Shakes are fairly young and unknown, yet for their first debut album, they have managed a home run.
The band officially came together in 2009 when singer and rhythm guitarist Brittany Howard approached bassist Zac Cockrell in a high school class and asked about getting a band together.
Later, they added drummer Steve Johnson and guitarist Heath Fogg.
From there, they released a self-titled EP and started gaining credit playing small venues in Alabama even playing covers of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC songs.
The band’s first album release, Boys and Girls, utilizes different styles of soul, hard rock, and R&B in a way that is similar to both Led Zeppelin and the works of Aretha Franklin.
The band modernizes these sounds and blends them together with an almost punk attitude making not only for an emotionally packed album but also one filled with energy.
In terms of technical ability, the band proves to be not only proficient for how young they are, but also quite talented.
The vocals of Brittany Howard are powerful.
Her voice is a mixture of Robert Plant, Janis Joplin, and Whitney Houston.
Needless to say, a lot of what makes this band refreshing is how they are not afraid to let strong vocals be so prevalent in the music.
Heath Fogg, the band’s lead guitarist, also contributes significantly.
His focus seems to be more about complimenting the songs instead of having crazy, outlandish solos.
His ability to play different melodies and bluesy chords that sync so well with each song is masterful.
One of the main concerns with the album when first listening to it was how similar the songs would be.
With such a strong statement in the first song “Hold On”, it seemed like the band could easily play off the success of the single and have the rest of the album be less than mediocre.
Yet this is in no way the case with the album.
Each song seems to have had great attention given to lyrics, sound, and structure.
The amount of thought that is evident on this album is better than the majority of the albums that top the charts currently.
It becomes evident a few songs into the album that The Alabama Shakes are interested in having an album with balance, something enjoyable to listen to in one sitting.
The alternative of having an album simply to bust out as many singles as possible has been something that has crippled many bands before.
Every song on this album is worth listening to.
There is such a wide range of sounds that songs always look to entertain in different fashions.
Although this is The Alabama Shakes debut album, they have managed something special.
There is energy on this album that is monumental but it is achieved through simplicity.
Good song writing, soulful sounds, and a knack for standing out has made this a band worth investing in.