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Blues Pills – Holy Moly! Award winner

Blues Pills
Holy Moly!
by Gary Hernandez at 18 September 2020, 8:33 AM

I really don’t know what to tell you if you haven’t been turned on to BLUES PILLS yet. I guess I’m both happy and sad for you. Happy that you get to discover them and explore their back catalogue like it was new; sad that you didn’t do it a whole lot earlier. They are a dynamic, mind-blowing Rock band out of Örebro, Sweden. Bluesy, psychedelic, soulful, rocking…they’re the whole package. They formed in 2011 and have released three full-length studio albums, two live albums, and three EPs. Their latest album, “Holy Moly!”, was released on August 21, 2020. If you have been following them, you know that Dorian Sorriaux left in November 2018 (on good terms). Zack Anderson shifted over from bass to guitar, and Kristoffer Schander joined the band as the new bassist. Elin Larsson still fronts the band on vocals, backed by the beast, André Kvarnström, on drums.

The first thing that people notice about BLUES PILLS is Elin’s vocals. I’ve put on “Devil Man” and watched an entire gathering of people stop talking and moving and just listen in stunned silence. We’re talking powerful, crystal clear lungs. She sustains notes for so long at such an intense pitch that you have to wonder if she ever takes a breath at all. Eight years on and her vocal prowess hasn’t dwindled. Second is the rhythm section, especially André on drums. Small kit, massive sound. Third is the often-elaborate guitar solos. The big surprise for me was just how good a guitarist Zack Anderson is. Makes you wonder why they didn’t go for a two-guitar assault when they had the chance. Fourth, is how it all melds in this retro but still modern Rock sound that has more locomotion than an Amtrak Charger.

Thematically BLUES PILLS has always had a 1960’s sensibility and 1970’s vibe with their peace-loving, anti-materialism lyrics. But they do it so well, and they vary their song tempo often enough that you never get caught in the same groove for too long. And so it is with “Holy Moly!” Lyrically, this isn’t some Prog novella drawn out to epic proportions or some Goth navel gazing. It’s straight-forward stuff about feminism, confidence, and love. There always has to be love songs, unrequited and otherwise.

BLUES PILLS are at their best when they crank up the pace and just rock. In this case, it’s “Proud Woman,” “Low Road,” “Dreaming My Life Away,” “Rhythm In The Blood,” “Kiss My Past Goodbye,” and “Bye Bye Birdy.” Yep, long list there. These hard-grooving songs act as pillars that prop up slower, more soulful tracks like “California,” “Wish I’d Known,” and “Song From A Mourning Dove.” The eccentric album cover art by the Daria Hlazatovais is entitled the “Beast.” Promo material describes it as a “haunting capture of the devil embraced by kindness and sorrow. Just like life, it’s in the darkest times you have to glow.” And this perfectly captures what “Holy Moly!” sounds and feels like. Some parts are modish, some visceral, some poignant. Put it all together and it’s some of the purest, unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll around.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Proud Woman
2. Low Road
3. Dreaming My Life Away
4. California
5. Rhythm In The Blood
6. Dust
7. Kiss My Past Goodbye
8. Wish I'd Known
9. Bye Bye Birdie
10. Song From A Mourning Dove
11. Longest Lasting Friend
Elin Larsson – Vocals
Zack Anderson – Guitar
André Kvarnström – Drums
Kristoffer Schander – Bass
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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Edited 31 January 2023

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