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Blues Pills - Lady in Gold Award winner

Blues Pills
Lady in Gold
by Lauren Fonto at 01 August 2016, 9:05 PM

The combination of blues and rock has been one of the most harmonious (pun intended) in music. Two years after their debut release, BLUES PILLS have given us their second full-length album, “Lady in Gold”. According to their promo material, the band has given a more prominent place to their gospel and soul influences this time around. Psychedelia is the final ingredient in this intriguing musical mixture. For a little while, I wondered who the Lady in Gold of the title track was. I soon discovered that she was a reinvention of the Grim Reaper. The track “Lady in Gold” opens with engaging piano chords and powerful vocals from vocalist Elin Larsson. Her performance is varied throughout the album, and the backing vocals add interest. Usually backing vocals are something nondescript, in my experience. In this case, I don’t think the vocal parts would be the same without the backing vocals – the gospel parts are entertaining in their own right, without overpowering Larsson’s parts. On the rousing “Little Boy Preacher”, the gospel parts add to the atmosphere of reverence surrounding the track’s young protagonist. I liked Larsson’s “blues growls” on “Rejection” (for an example of what I mean, listen to ERIC CLAPTON’s cover of “Rollin’ and Tumblin”).

The psychedelic side of BLUES PILLS comes out most strongly in the guitars and organ. There are trippy guitar effects aplenty here, as on “Won’t Go Back” and “Rejection”. The riffs are engaging enough to stand apart from the effects; Dorian Sorriaux wields his axe with finesse. His solo on “You Gotta Try” has an interesting, sultry tone, and his languid, sliding riffs are delicious throughout the album. The latter add variety amongst the fuzz-pedal infused moments. André Kvarnström and Zack Anderson provide a firm rhythmic base via the drums and bass guitar respectively. Kvarnström’s fills are well-placed in the mix, and he does a great build-up on “Bad Talkers”, with a marching rhythm that turns into a cool drum roll. As far as I can tell, he makes use of other percussion instruments, with what appear to be bongos on “Won’t Go Back”. Regardless of percussion taxonomy, these other instruments enhance the music where they pop up.

BLUES PILLS have produced a memorable album. For one thing, I’ve had the track “Lady in Gold” stuck in my head for a few days now. The band performs in a nostalgic style without sounding like they’re trying too hard to imitate their musical ancestors. Their music is a happy union between blues and rock, and long may it last.

Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Lady in Gold
2. Little Boy Preacher
3. Burned Out 

4. I Felt a Change
5. Gone So Long
6. Bad Talkers 

7. You Gotta Try 

8. Won't Go Back 

9. Rejection 

10. Elements and Things
André Kvarnström - drums
Elin Larsson - vocals
Dorian Sorriaux - guitars
Zack Anderson - bass
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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