Review Summary: Blues Pills are back! Well, kinda…
As a music fan, I can’t be happier when artists feel free to express themselves and release what comes from within their souls. After a fiery debut that placed Blues Pills right at the forefront of the vintage rock movement, instead of maintaining the same successful recipe, the Swedish outfit fused its sound with funk and soul elements. That resulted in a more experimental, albeit weaker, release due to the underutilization of vocalist Elin Larsson and wunderkind guitarist Dorian Sorriaux.
Now, four years after Lady in Gold
, bass player Zack Anderson has taken over the guitar duties and Blues Pills have released what sounds like the missing link between their first two LPs. Holy Moly!
is definitely their wilder release, as it combines the psych/blues side of the debut with some of the soul touches of its predecessor.
Is this a reason to celebrate though?
Yes and no. It’s smart that the songs are written in a way that, once again, benefits Elin’s voice, and I like how the band utilizes its drummer. Moreover, tracks like “California”, “Wish I’d Known”, and “Song from A Mourning Dove” bring the feels like no track on Lady In Gold
. The former has a very convincing late-‘60s vibe, “Wish I’d Known” highlights the band’s Beatles/early-Fleetwood Mac influences, and the latter along with “Bye Bye Birdy” are probably the only two tracks that could stand on Blues Pills. At the same time, “Dust” and “Longest Lasting Friend” are utterly forgettable, and “Low Road”, “Dreaming My Life Away”, and “Rhythm in the Blood” are quite samey. The good thing is that whoever picked the first two singles – “Proud Woman” and “Kiss My Past Goodbye” – probably did that to lower expectations by expecting another Lady In Gold
However, I can’t help but feel that once again there’s potential here, which can only be reached with improved songwriting and much better guitar solos.
At the end of the day, how one perceives Holy Moly!
depends on whether they’re a glass half-empty or half-full type of person. On one hand, sound-wise, this feels like a step towards the right direction. On the other hand, Blues Pills are kinda like the 2005-06 LA Lakers; replace Kobe with Stephen Jackson, or another decent shooting guard, and what you have is a 20-win team instead of a playoff seed. Similarly, replace Elin with another decent vocalist, and chances are that we wouldn’t be talking about Holy Moly!