Blues Pills - Blues Pills | Review

Well here's a debut album loaded with enough old school rock n' roll balls to get the geriatrics swinging their jeans, catchy and fresh enough to interest the doubting pop industry, and yet still darkly inventive enough to tickle the underbelly of the subverts. In turn, they lovingly tug once more at those emotional threads conjured by bands like Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and Cream. The inevitable result? Blues Pills are about to shift some units with this release.

Craftily divided into sections, each offering something interesting to focus upon, the album oozes star quality. Tracks 1 through 3 offer quick-change chord structures that ripple their way along a driving underscore which harries and hurries you along. Opener "High Class Woman" has a hard, rock-punching edge about it with fierce licks and strong hooks, whilst the excellent, groove-laden "Ain't No Change" and "Jupiter", with its mind-expanding middle-eight, ride along bluesier, walls of guitar fuzz that get you deep in the gut.

Tracks 4 through 6 mark out a welcome change of pace which brings the stunning Joplin-esque vocal of Elin Larsen to the forefront. Strong without being butch, her delivery has a sweet, rasping quality, plenty of range and a fine grasp of when to stress a lyric and when not to. So whilst the flawed yet elegiac, slide guitar number "River" stands out proudest of all, sashaying along as she enunciates each vowel, it is the friskier, slow-quick-slow rhythm and cosmic power of "Black Smoke" which speaks most clearly to the heart as well as the soul. Tracks 7-9 begins the steady build back up to speed with the swing of "Devil Man" bringing some much needed fire, "Astralplane" loading up on blues, and Chubby Checker-cover "Gypsy" punching every majestic note out with joyous delight. Throughout these and into the album closer, the simple sustained sweeps of retro kingpins Graveyard (who they share a producer with) show their face placing that chronological marker upon the Swedish quartet.

Offering something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, whatever your taste, this is an impressive debut that should, by all accounts, marry itself to your very marrow. I thought I had a cold, black heart, but suddenly I can feel the damn thing beating. I think I'm falling for Blues Pills... and hard.

John Skibeat 

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John Skibeat is a self-described word monkey hampered by cravings for strong ale and stinky cheese. He continues to practice surgical dissection on most genres of music with the leftovers currently reaching publication at 'zines like Heavy Blog Is Heavy, The Line Of Best Fit or Ave Noctum. When not smacking seven bells out of various sizes of orb, he tumbles at johnskibeat, tweets @johnskibeat and blogs at, yes, you guessed it, johnskibeat.