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Album Review: Blues Pills – Holy Moly!

Retro Swedish soul-rockers Blues Pills continue to swing on third album, Holy Moly!

Sometimes, it’s not about where you are, but where you’re at. Even if, in the case of Swedish retro-rockers Blues Pills, where you are is already rather covetable. To record the follow-up to 2016’s magnificent Lady In Gold – an album which took them to Number One in Germany – Elin Larsson and her be-flared band headed to Närke, far out in the Swedish countryside, where they could freak out in (relative) peace, in their own analogue studio, with no distractions, recorded by guitarist Zack Anderson. But as idyllic as this sounds, on Holy Moly!, Blues Pills are actually miles and decades away from where it was created. This is actually the super-swinging sound of 1960s California, a sunny delight that invokes the golden age of psychedelia, the Playboy Mansion party from Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. There’s even a song called California that rivals Red Hot Chili Peppers for invoking their home state’s hot spirit.

What Blues Pills serve up, like The White Stripes or Rival Sons before them, is a perfect transmission of warm rock’n’roll from a time gone by that effortlessly slinks along with natural swagger, without ever feeling studied. The opening stomp of Proud Woman and the fuzzy heft of Low Road immediately open the door on a place where rock’n’roll is full of soul, the riffs are from that sweet spot where the blues was getting faster and louder, and the best occasion in which to have a good time is all of the time.

As ever, it’s Elin’s incredible voice that gives Holy Moly! so much of its charisma. Her vocals – in the raw but beautiful tradition of Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and Mama Cass – are incredible here, melodically high and gorgeous, with a rough edge that gives so much weight to the shaking Rhythm In The Blood, while on the softer, slightly folky, Wish I’d Known, it’s a gentle breeze over the top.

In the spirit of transporting you somewhere else, Holy Moly! appears at a somewhat apt time. Physically getting away is hard right now, but here is a golden ticket to a place where none of this is going on, where you can forget about your troubles and groove to a wonderful vibration that’s called life. Take a trip. 

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Rival Sons, Janis Joplin, Purson

Holy Moly! is released on August 21 via Nuclear Blast.

Posted on August 19th 2020, 10:15a.m.
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