Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color
Sound & Color shows that this band aspires to be much more than roots-rock poster children. This is a weirder, woozier, fiercer and sexier record than their debut in nearly every way.
Yes, singer-guitarist Brittany Howard still taps classic R&B vocal moves, those spirit-channeling shouts and moans; guitarist Heath Fogg still echoes licks from Al Green sideman Teenie Hodges and Stax mainstay Steve Cropper. But they’re touchstones that get transformed by production fit for a cannabis dispensary. The title track kicks off the album with a statement of intent. Vibraphone notes float by in deep reverb, suggesting a classic slow-build soul burner like the lonely brass that opens Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.” But it’s all foreplay: Howard’s voice enters in layers, settling into a hall-of-mirrors call-and-response chant while discordant strings tug at the melody and electronics flicker like old bar neon. “A new world hangs outside the window/Beautiful and strange,” Howard sings with a delicious born-again dreaminess.
**Double LP Clear Vinyl**