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Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls
Since the Alabama Shakes were already being hailed as the saviors of the blogger, hippie, soul-revival and NPR scenes based on their incredible live show and a memorable Bandcamp.com page, their debut album almost feels like an afterthought. Which is a shame since Boys & Girls is the type of honest, independent minded, almost-retro album that should be passed down from older siblings and through college dorm halls to fans looking for a gateway into the Southeast’s sonic history. Even on record, lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard manages to capture both the wild, bluesy energy of Janis Joplin and the sultry, soulful polish of Sharon Jones, while the band as a whole are rightful heirs to their home state’s classic Muscle Shoals sound. But, in the best possible way, Boys & Girls is also just accessible enough to serve as a perfect entry point into those rich musical legacies, filtering the band’s soul, blues, R&B and Southern rock influences through the kaleidoscope lens of the Bonnaroo generation. The album’s most infecious song, “Hold On,” is more tailored for a late afternoon festival tent than a rowdy bar and “I Found You” will likely make it onto more than a few romantic summer iPod playlists. Let’s hope that Boys & Girls allows Alabama Shakes to grow naturally.
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