When their massively successful debut album ‘Boys & Girls’ dropped back in 2012, there was no denying that a key factor in the Shakes' magnetism was the raspy, soulful, smoldering vocals of phenomenally talented lead singer Brittany Howard. The powerhouse female vocalist — a 20-something truck driver and postal worker who had never been out of her home state of Alabama — seemed to just appear out of the blue, which only magnified the stunning impression left by their debut.
Alabama Shakes are now back with their much-anticipated sophomore album, and NME has summed it up perfectly: “One of the biggest hurdles facing Alabama Shakes on ‘Sound & Color’ is that you’ll never be able to hear Brittany Howard’s voice for the first time again.” After receiving enormous success with ‘Boys & Girls’, there are few music fans who have not heard Howard’s impressive vocals in one way or another — and for that reason, ‘Sound & Color’ will not receive the same industry-rattling buzz associated with their debut effort.
That being said, Howard’s gritty vocals and the refreshingly genuine blues sound of Alabama Shakes is not one that simply loses impact. ‘Sound & Color’ is polished, lush, raw, and rich with pure soul and emotion. There is no overlooking Howard as one of the greatest vocalists in the industry today, and their sophomore album is just further evidence of this fact. Though it may not grab you on your first listen, first single “Don’t Wanna Fight” will be in your head for days, and smooth-as-honey album highlight “This Feeling” will remind you of why this band skyrocketed into the indie music scene back in 2012.
Alabama Shakes will be back in Toronto this summer to headline Field Trip Festival on June 6th. Their album is available to stream on Spotify.