Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls
I don’t recall the first time that I heard the name Alabama Shakes. To me, it sounded like some kind of condition you would get from either living in the state of Alabama for too long or perhaps simply by drinking their water. That’s just my personal opinion, after having traveled through the Slamma State. [Ed.: Note that the opinions of Mr. Macala do not reflect those of the entire staff at Space City Rock. Mostly.] But bands have been named after states before, and it’s never really bothered me. So since I kept hearing this name, I decided to listen to this album and see what all of the fuss was about.
First off, I need to note in this review that trying to define the music of Alabama Shakes in words simply cannot do them justice. You need to actually experience this music itself for you to get the full effect. I promise.
Simply stated, Alabama Shakes are a soulful kind of rock band that have many different blues/rock qualities as a whole. My immediate impressions of the band are that of vocals that range between such classics as Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday to such contemporaries as Norah Jones and Corrine Bailey Rae. The music accompanying these impassioned vocals ranges from that of Lynyrd Skynyrd to the Jackson 5. This is funk. This is soul. This is rock ‘n roll. This is beautiful.
The one thing that really sets Alabama Shakes apart from other bands — and from those I have compared them to — is the mere fact that as these vocals are belted out, at times there’s a certain amount of rage coming through. There’s nothing hardcore or metal about it specifically, but it’s the same attitude. It’s kind of like Tina Turner singing about how she’s been kicked around by Ike one too many times, and it’s over now. It has that sort of fire that I’m sure would just create an unforgettable, unique live show that I would definitely like to see one day.
Whilst my words may not be able to entirely prepare you for the music you are about to hear, just know that when you do finally hear Alabama Shakes — assuming you have not yet heard them already — your life will never be the same again.