By Paige Carlin
After blowing it out of the water in 2012 with their first full-length album, the creators of Boys & Girls are back. The Alabama Shakes released its highly anticipated second LP Sound & Color, on April 21. And once again, the Shakes have left listeners wanting more of their ever-changing music.
One thing that hasn’t changed in Sound & Color is lead vocalist Brittany Howard’s unforgettable voice, which is best showcased in the songs “Over My Head,” “Shoegaze” and “Gemini.”
In all three, Howard belts out line after line of beautiful, heartfelt verses. It can be said, without a doubt, that her soulful voice is what made Boys & Girls such a huge hit and continues to set the group up for success with Sound & Color.
While Howard’s voice remains a constant in Sound & Color, the group still experiments with its signature sound, best described as 60s-esque laced with traces of folk, funk, rock, pop, alternative and R&B.
According to pitchfork.com, prior to the release of Sound & Color, guitarist Heath Fog had proclaimed that the Shakes’ sound would be lost to a new electronic vibe in its next album.While the sound of the album as a whole is not necessarily electronic, some songs such as “Sound & Color” and “Guess Who,” do have that feel.
However, others such as “Shoegaze” and “Gemini” have a strong rock beat and easily fit into the same category as some works of The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
In addition, the group could not escape its funk and R&B roots which were reflected in “Don’t Wanna Fight” and “Future People.” One particular ballad on the album is “This Feeling,” in which the group returns to its roots and unwinds with a relaxing and simple tune.
Although Sound & Color feels similar to Boys & Girls, the band has grown and evolved over the past two years. Its newest album is somewhat slower-paced and its variety leaves it unable to be pinned to one main genre; however, it is an unmistakably work of the Alabama Shakes and deserves just as much recognition as their previous album, if not more.