ALBUM REVIEW: Blues Pills – ‘Holy Moly!’

Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer 

Back in March I had a press release land in my inbox to announce an album set for release from a band I fell for instantly. Since then, I have been waiting eagerly for each single release and for the album itself. Each single released so far has been pure gold and the album itself? Well ‘Holy Moly!’ it’s every shade of golden! Like sparkling, glowing rays of sunshine, this album shines bright with eleven beautifully composed and delivered Psychedelic/Blues/Rock/Soul tracks that flow through your ears and into your heart and soul. 

Blues Pills are a Rock quartet based in Sweden, formed in the Midwest in late 2011 by the bands songwriters Zack Anderson and Elin Larsson. Joined by bass player Kristoffer Schander and drummer André Kvarnström. All four are incredibly talented at their chosen instruments and roles within the band. Larsson’s vocals are so incredibly strong, emotive, husky, yet clear, honey dipped but smoky, reminiscent of vocalists like Janis Joplin, Melanie, Stevie Nicks and Jillian Taylor (Ruby The Hatchet). The band themselves could have walked straight out of the 70’s Psychedelic Blues Rock era easily, their sound is a glowing display and reminder that this genre is solidified in our music world forevermore. And thank heavens for it. 

The album opens with the first single released, Proud Woman. And what an opening to an album. It’s in your face; a power surge of a song, a song with political reason and an empowering song for women everywhere. With Larsson’s incredible vocal and presence, this song is made even more potent. It begins with a spoken word from a protester: “Well the main demand of course is equal rights, equal rights to have a job, to have respect, to not be viewed as a piece of meat, equal rights to set forth our own humanity. They aren’t fruitless demands at all, we just want what men have had all these years.” …and rolls into Larsson singing “I’m a proud woman…I’m a PROUD WOMAN…” I played this track on my morning walk this morning and as I walked with the sunshine and warm breeze hitting my skin, hair out flowing and flying around in the wind, music loud and blaring through my earphones, I felt incredibly empowered. The song also comes with a music video as vivid as the song itself, with a bright red backdrop featuring the band rocking out, Larsson with all the swagger of a female Mick Jagger, it’s brilliant. 

Low Road is up next. The second single from the album to be released. This one is upbeat, it’s fast and furious in its delivery, unrelenting and passionate. The riffs and guitar throughout this track are everything I love about this genre. Jimi Hendrix style, just divine. With a deep, funky bass line and drums like a heartbeat, pumping in my chest. This song, like every song on this album shows that Blues Pills have perfected their craft. Dreaming My Life Away “I’ve been dreaming my life away, losing my mind at the end of the day, you keep wasting your days away, you had it all now it’s slipping away…” A tale told that is easily relatable for all the dreamers, the creatives, the over-thinkers. The music video for this one is set up like an old school music TV show. I rate this whole band as being incredibly talented, but in particular, in this clip, watching drummer, André Kvarnström going hard on the drums is such a delight. 

California, this one kicks off reminding me straight up of a Janis Joplin style musical tale. I can close my eyes and envision Blues Pills playing this at Woodstock, they’d fit right in. And oh my heart, the high notes Larsson hits in this track! This woman can sing! Rhythm In The Blood begins with someone trying to tune in a radio before landing upon some distorted guitars as the song opens up with a howl from Larsson, heavy guitar, drilling drums and deep bass. A clever beginning to a hecticly harmonious honey dipped song. I can’t listen to this track without moving around, my body taken over by the sounds and the groove. Just so good. Play it loud. 

Dust takes the pace down a little. It’s bluesy, croony, slow tempo. A growling, husky, deep vocal with backing vocals to match. The most recent single to be released is up next and takes the pace up a notch again, Kiss My Past Goodbye. Another empowering song, “I hold my head up high, I hold my head up high I kiss my past goodbye…Kiss it bitch”. There’s a ‘don’t mess with me no more’ attitude to this one. It comes with a technicoloured psychedelic style music video. 

Wish I’d Known takes it down to an even slower pace again. Slowly strummed guitar and bass, a softer vocal showing the range and ability to flick from aggressive powerful vocals to a more delicate honey like sound, still strong and powerful, but delivered in a different approach. The backing vocals sound like a choir, powerful in the numbers “I wish I’d known…” chanting over the blues strummed guitar again and again. Bye Bye Birdie hits you with distorted fuzzy guitars and an echoing vocal. This one is just so super cool, with headphones on, it flows from ear to ear. It’s an experience more than just a song. This one gives me a real Jack White vibe, The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather vibes here. I would love to hear Jack get up and sing this with them sometime, how absolutely amazing would that be? 

Song From A Mourning Dove. The piano stands out here at the beginning of the track. This one is delicate to begin with, yet sturdy in it’s delivery. Longest Lasting Friend ends the album. This song is beautiful. The music, the melody, the lyrics, combined bring an alluring energy and sound to this track. Definitely the perfect ending song. At times reminding me of a child’s music box tune, there is an innocence to it yet at the same time, the powerful voice of a formidable frontwoman gives it depth and strength. “It’s you and me ‘till this bitter end…”

‘Holy Moly!’ is like an overflowing cup of your favourite beverage, it’s full to the brim with such goodness and every sip makes you want to take another. This album joins my list of the best releases of 2020 and I can’t wait for it to be unveiled for all to hear. Do yourself a favour and pre order/pre save it now. 

‘Holy Moly!’ is set for release on Friday August 21, 2020 via Nuclear Blast

Pre order HERE

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With thanks to Nuclear Blast

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