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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soul Wheels Keep On Turning
Another soulful presence joins the retro resurgence of 60s sounds, with Alabama Shakes and singer Brittany Howard's offering of Joplinesque vocals and Otis Redding timings, the latter sound echoed on 'You Ain't Alone' by the fine guitar work of Heath Fogg. Their live sound - seen on last night's 'Later....with Jools' - isn't fully captured on the album, especially the...
Published on 25 April 2012 by Glenn

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's shaking
Alabama Shakes are one of the current 'next big thing' bands and with justification. I have a different view, however, on what is good and bad about this album to most of the other reviewers here. I haven't heard them live (I did see them on 'Later'), so I can't make that comparison. My feeling is that 'Boys and Girls' is a display of promise which is largely unfulfilled...
Published on 4 May 2012 by D. J. H. Thorn


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soul Wheels Keep On Turning, 25 April 2012
By 
Glenn "Omaha" (Devon England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
Another soulful presence joins the retro resurgence of 60s sounds, with Alabama Shakes and singer Brittany Howard's offering of Joplinesque vocals and Otis Redding timings, the latter sound echoed on 'You Ain't Alone' by the fine guitar work of Heath Fogg. Their live sound - seen on last night's 'Later....with Jools' - isn't fully captured on the album, especially the guitar licks Fogg played with such character on that session.

Opener 'Hold On' has a little of Creedence Clearwater ghosting in its rhythmic underbelly, Fogg again providing the subtle layers, and Howard's vocal is at one of its strongest efforts here. Title track 'Boys and Girls' gives Howard a slower showcase for her broader depth and tone, and those soul roots dig in deep on this gentle track. 'Be Mine', played on last night's 'Jools', is a favourite already, Fogg pleasing with his funky picking, and Howard pushes herself to emotive heights - it's a raucous climb.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alabama Shakes - Cook up a potent rock 'n' soul stew, 9 April 2012
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
The unmistakable presence of giant musical ghosts from the past haunt this record. The echoes are everywhere and they suggest the finest of pedigrees. Yet the Alabama Shakes have that extra dimension which is a key feature of all the contenders for the bands that somehow define the moment. They are hot, they are talked about in hushed tones and while there is nothing essentially new to be found on their debut "Boys and Girls" they have taken the familiar and infused it with the brilliant musical feat of making it sound new and original. Anyone listening to the superb debut single "Hold on" will be immediately struck by the homage to the soulful southern stew once concocted in that legendary studio Muscle Shoals in a small northwest corner of the bands home state. Here Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge and Bobby Womack created a distinct sound that famous bands like the Rolling Stones and more latterly the Black Keys have sought to replicate. This mix of rock and soul is all over "Boys and Girls" like a rash and the names Otis Redding and Janis Joplin are equally obvious influences. Add to this potent force that the Alabama Shakes have a primary weapon, a sort of musical nuclear option in the form of vocalist Brittany Howard a veritable force of nature and star in the making. Stop what your doing and check out the band on the Net at their now legendary Boston Arms gig in London in February 2012 and above all else seek out their cover of Led Zeppelin's "How many more times". You will be left speechless at the brazen energy which doesn't so much light up the stage as completely own it.

Indeed if your reviewer has one complaint about this great debut album it doesn't quite press into the vinyl grooves the primal quality of the bands on stage presence and the sheer level of raucousness they summon up. Equally its an album that starts so strong that they set themselves an impossible standard to sustain over these eleven songs although to give them credit they try their damnedest. Inevitably you are drawn to the first two songs not least the superb single "Hold on". It is an instant classic, a song, which someone should have, written before and a performance by a band so tight you couldn't prize them apart. It is a rock 'n' soul standard in the making with its brilliant dirty sluggish riff and Howards sassily delivered opening line "Bless my heart, and bless my soul, didn't think I would make it, to twenty two years old". It is as if the Drive by Truckers have invited Otis Redding on stage for a jam and recorded it. The second song "I found you" is far more soulful and echoes the sort of Motown inspired laments that the late Amy Winehouse took to stratospheric levels on "Black to black". The song has a hook that could have carried on well beyond its meagre three minutes but the sign of a great band is to recognise the right level of economy and no song on this album tips over into the 5-minute territory. Further into the album you will also find a brilliant soul ballad "You ain't alone" which proves that Howard has a talent which should be celebrated and nurtured. If she is this good now what the future holds could be remarkable. Sadly the rest of the album doesn't quite reach the heights of these three songs. The short "Going to a party" is slightly pointless bearing in mind the songs the band has in their extensive live armoury. The penultimate song "I ain't the same" is fine but has been done many times before. Yet you can forgive them these missteps when you hear the fine conclusion to this album the much rockier "On your way" which is a splendid way to finish.

Bearing in mind the sheer level of outlandish hyperbole around the Alabama Shakes in the US it may be the case that Boys and Girls was destined never to meet this weight of expectation. Nevertheless whilst this is no rock masterpiece it is a great debut. You also feel that once they are able to capture the sheer power of their live concerts in the recording studio then the Alabama Shakes will just about blow anything else off the stage. The enticing prospect they conjure up is truly delicious.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's shaking, 4 May 2012
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
Alabama Shakes are one of the current 'next big thing' bands and with justification. I have a different view, however, on what is good and bad about this album to most of the other reviewers here. I haven't heard them live (I did see them on 'Later'), so I can't make that comparison. My feeling is that 'Boys and Girls' is a display of promise which is largely unfulfilled here, but not because of the production. It is actually a very live sounding album, right down to the guitar hum.

As yet, however, they just don't have the songs. The first three are outstanding and if you're one of those cherry-picking downloaders, they are the ones you'll take. The rest is middling stuff. The songs are simple and with titles such as 'Be Mine' might easily have been selected from a packet of love hearts. The band's strength is in their impassioned execution. My one complaint in that area is that Brittany Howard hams it up too much at times, not, thankfully, in a Mariah Carey way, but her agonies often completely obscure what she's singing.

Meanwhile, the superb 'Hang Loose' sounds like Creedence Clearwater Revival at their peak; it's the deep drum and hollow guitar sound that does it. The resemblance crops up all over the place. The slower 'You Ain't Alone', which starts promisingly, and the title track, however, sound like the same soul cliche lifted from the 1960s. On the whole, it's an album worth hearing, but I don't think Alabama Shakes have satisfied expectations yet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boys and Girls: Alabama Shakes - Hold on and hang loose with this exciting debut, 6 Feb 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
Having heard this band a fair bit on 6 Music, we just had to get the album. And what a great album. Funky, ear catching tunes with a unique style that grab the attention. From the opening jangly guitar of Hold On, that leads us into a distorted yet clear as a bell vocal, I was hooked. With the standard tales of love and loss, such as the rocky I Found You and the intense Heartbreaker, this doesn't break new ground in terms of songwriting, but it does deliver a layered, mature sound with some real depth to it. It's catchy, intense, foot tappingly good, and currently is rarely out of my CD player. A great start for this group, I look forward to hearing more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant CD, 16 May 2012
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
Brilliant music! I loved this CD I have listened to it over and over. I would happily recommend this CD
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great First Album, 11 April 2012
By 
Mr. John Freeman (Bridport,Dorset UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
Just played the album through and must say I am pretty impressed with it . They are a young band and this is their first venture into recording and it has to be said that they make a good job of it .Brittany Howard has a great soulful set of vocal chords and the rest of the band play with a tightness that belays their youth . Heath Fogg's lead guitar playing warrants special mention and the the bass and drums lay a solid foundation to all the tracks .
Their live shows are alledged to be pretty awesome and this CD should lead a lot of people to their shows .
All in all any fan of Southern Rock should be happy to shell their loot out to hear this band on CD or in person .Four Stars .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bless my soul..., 31 Dec 2012
By 
A. Sweeney "I don't care what you call me" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
Once in a while, an album that justifies all the hype comes along. Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes' first album, is such a beast. A mixture of soulful, understated, echo-laden rock with singer Brittany Howard's timeless vocals providing the spellbinding focus of the music, this Alabama foursome are the real McCoy. Delivering her lyrics with passion, a world-weariness that one in her early twenties has no right to possess and the ballsy confidence of someone with utter belief in her material, she really does, rightly or wrongly, steal the show. This is far from a perfect début, but there are enough top quality songs to stamp their mark on the music scene and make the album, as a whole, a thoroughly enjoyable and frequently thrilling experience. Without a doubt, "Hold On" is the best thing on offer here and, although it's absolutely brilliant, you have to question the wisdom of putting their most astonishing song on first. However, perseverance rewards and tracks such as "I Found You", "Hang Loose", "You Ain't Alone", "Heartbreaker" and "Be Mine" reveal themselves to be strong contenders for everybody's second favourite cut on the album. I'd recommend Boys & Girls for any lovers of passionate, heart-felt soul with a rougher edge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls, 22 Sep 2012
By 
Martina Mcdonagh "Marzi" (Galway, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant - what a voice, what a sound from the band !! The best new band out there - best album I have bought in ages... Cannot recommend it enough. Bluesy, rolling stones meets an amazing rocking-out there band!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, 1 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
I was a little unsure whether or not to buy this album as i didn't really have a lot to go on. I had seen them on Jules Holland and loved what i heared, but quite often with albums you hear the best track and the rest isn't so good. I really like this album, it's the sort of album that you play when you want to hear proper music from a proper band that hasn't been tweaked and enhanced. It's how music always used to be, and her voice is great, a bit of Janice Joplin in it definately.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alabama Shakes, 10 May 2012
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
I'm very pleased with this purchase. The voice and talent of the band shines through, but there was one surprising disappointment and that was in the track 'Hold On' which the band perform brilliantly on the live circuit. It suffered badly from the anodyne surrounds of the recording studio, and it simply doesn't match up to the live versions. That apart, the whole album oozes class.

4/5.
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