Album Review: Alabama Shakes, 'Boys & Girls'


Alabama Shakes
"Boys & Girls"
Producer: Alabama Shakes
ATO Records
Release Date: April 10

"Are you scared to wear your heart on your sleeve?" Frontwoman Brittany Howard isn't, and that gives Alabama Shakes' full-length debut, "Boys & Girls," a great deal of the power and passion that's made the quartet a bona fide buzz band in the past year. A nuevo Janis Joplin incarnate with a force of nature voice-check out last year's jewelry ad sensation "You Ain't Alone" and the powerhouse "Be Mine"-Howard is a romantic but no pushover. You just know the "Heartbreaker" she sings about is likely to get his butt kicked, and that the objects of her attention in "I Found You" and "I Ain't the Same" will toe a hard line if they know what's good for them. The Shakes also show a deft touch with buoyant Muscle Shoals soul-rock-if the legendary studio was located in a garage-on such tracks as "Rise to the Sun," "You Ain't Alone," "On Your Way" and the gospel-flavored "Hold On." Although those who have witnessed the group's floor-shaking live shows might be a bit disarmed by the deliberately dense and lo-fi production of "Boys & Girls."

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