Sound & Color
Alabama Shakes’ 2012 debut Boys & Girls is a powerhouse release because of the emotional tempest standing center stage. Lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard channels all her fear, anger, and sadness into a toe-tapping slab of Southern rock. Pivotal events such as Howard’s older sister’s death, her family home burning down after a lightning strike, and her parents’ divorce still reverberate today, which makes the band’s sophomore full-length a bit of a letdown thematically, but still a force to reckon with musically. Sound & Color once again showcases the stomping power of Howard and her band, but the LP can be an uneven listen at times. Throughout the album’s twelve tracks, the quartet’s sound edges toward slow-burning, psychedelic soul (“Gemini,” “Over My Head”), which is experimental and fresh, but Alabama Shakes are still at their best on tracks like “Gimme All Your Love” and lead single “Don’t Wanna Fight”—when the vibraphones and bells are dropped and the Hammond organs and electric guitars come out to play.