Yesterday I was delighted to celebrate my two year anniversary of writing for Amps and Green Screens. In a twist of irony, the review of my tenure has brought me to revisit one of the first groups I was tasked to cover. How serendipitous, right? I know! In August 2014, I wrote about the debut from Classic-Rock flashback group, BLUES PILLS, and their enthralling debut. The group has returned with Lady in Gold, which will be available July 29 through Nuclear Blast Records.
It is my understanding that the sophomore record, at times, is the most difficult record of any musician’s career. It’s the follow up to the introduction, it’s met with expectations, it’s produced on a schedule instead of the lifetime one can spend to write the first album. It sounds stressful. However, this second effort lives up to the predecessor in great stride. The ten tracks move throughout a number of classic sounds, like a tour of the greatest radio hits of a previous generation.
The disc kicks off with the title track, beginning with a keyboard build of the song’s refrain and erupting into a collage of fuzz guitars and grooving rhythm. “Little Boy Preacher” hits with a southern draw, employing a call back technique between the vocal and instrument section. Easily the catchiest song, “Burned Out” is structured around a tight blues groove looped between guitar and bass. This is met by the moody, soul infused ballad “I Felt a Change”; a track reminiscent of 70’s R&B, complete with Rhodes Piano. As if writing a sequel from an alternate perspective, “Gone So Long” starts with an enigmatic atmosphere, climbing higher and higher until blasting through the speakers with a mountainous guitar solo.
“Bad Talkers” is a raucous rocker, with a clap-along feel and a sing-along chorus. The moodiest, bluesiest track is to follow, with “You Gotta Try”. I took favor to this song warning of the evils of our search for money. If this were a trip, the peak would be found somewhere around the time you hit “Won’t Go Back”. The song begs to be blasted from a car stereo. The group kicks it up with “Rejection”, another boisterous rocker, and keeps that momentum going through album closer “Elements and Things”. Both tracks together find a lively close to this trip through another period.
The effort placed in reliving the era that inspired their sound runs deeper throughout Lady in Gold. Even the mix was dialed in such a way to make the songs feel as though they’re playing through vinyl. The warmth and subtle scratchiness of the lo-fi production adds a sense of validation to BLUES PILL’S identity as a group that truly lives through the memory of the psychedelic age. On my review of their debut, I spent a great deal of the page name dropping, finding alike comparisons for the group. As you may have noticed, I left this out today. I do so, because with this record, the band has solidified their sound. However, as with the last one, I advise you to pick up the disc, sit back with some less than legal substances and drift off. I’ll take your thank you when you get back.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM