Thursday, April 23, 2015


This is wilder and more experimental, but just as damn catchy as the band's breakthrough debut.  Still hearts full of soul, the band chops it up and takes the music in directions previously inconceivable.  Hearing the nasty, fuzzy guitar turn into clock chimes at the end of Dunes is the smallest, yet coolest example of innovation and surprise on the disc.

The weapon that is Brittany Howard is even more powerful here.  Her performance on Gimme All Your Love is a showstopper, a classic vocal that is part Etta James, part Macy Gray, which builds and builds in intensity each time the chorus is given back to her. Wonderfully, the songs never stay still.  What starts out as a ballad will morph into something funky.  The goal seems to be to never play it straight.  But even with these delightful and odd turns, you can still hear the basics of the song and style.  Guess Who would make a great Philly soul number. with its driving rhythm guitar chords and melodic bass line, but here come some outer space strings and fractured percussion.

The Greatest is the wildest cut here, as somehow the group has turned it into a punk tune.  On a soul album.  That's what success can do for you sometimes, give you the confidence to go farther, to throw away the rules.  A triumph.

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