Review Summary: With a sound as effective as this, you don't need blues pills to enjoy.
One of the more convincing arguments which many self-proclaimed “metalheads” tend to bring about is how no matter which band is your favourite, everyone should always go to the source, the roots of the ever-growing tree that is metal. Sure, the same goes for just about any other musical style, but metal is one such style which actually proves to be quite divisive among its worldwide fan-base. If you were to ask Sweden's Blues Pills however, blues would be the most common source for heavy metal itself. You can practically guess that from the band's name, and the self-titled debut album seems to have convincingly brought the 60s groove back to life.
Disagree with that last sentence if you will, but albums like Blues Pills
were always intended to bring that retro vibe into the 21st Century, where blues rock just doesn't seem as prominent as it was five decades ago. With all ten tracks of the self-titled debut album, Blues Pills manage to make their bluesy, slightly psychadelic sound all the more convincing to the casual listener, and consistency is definitely the one thing which holds it all together. The most well known song off the album is undoubtedly opener “High Class Woman”, and proves to be one of the grooviest rock songs of recent times with Larsson's strong, soulful vocal delivery and the prominent rhythm section. Yet what makes “High Class Woman” so effective is the co-operation of all four band members. With the likes of “Jupiter” and the shorter but snappier “Devil Man”, the instrumental performance produces an engaging, well-executed sound which features powerful drum rhythms and a nicely audible bass, Larsson's strong vocal range proving to be the icing on the cake.
Blues Pills lose the momentum slightly with the slower, moodier “River” and “No Hope left for Me”, but even then the retro vibe manages to make up for it. The musicianship in this respect is versatile and thankfully there isn't too much repetition. Though the songs themselves never seem to appear too complex or confusing to the listener, the brief psychadelic interludes in the evocative “Black Smoke” and throughout most of “Jupiter” do offer mesmerizing rhythms, before hitting you hard with the heavier, blues-inspired sound covering most of the album. Yet it all comes down to how concise and cohesive the production, song structure and musicianship is. The production works well in the sense that you are effectively listening to a sound reminiscent of the 60s blues rock, and for forty or so minutes it's almost as if you've travelled in a time machine.
This is essentially why Blues Pills
comes across as the work of a band who have put so much effort into producing something reminiscent of the past, because although the chosen musical style doesn't suit everyone's tastes, it still brings the best out of a genre and time period without becoming a mere copycat. That said, the self titled debut album makes for a promising evolutionary start to Blues Pills' hopefully long-winded career.