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6 of 6 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soul Wheels Keep On Turning, 25 April 2012
By 
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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36 of 39 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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4 of 4 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 100 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Album of 2012 so far, 30 May 2012
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
I read previous reviews before buying, but although many suggest this is too refined compared to their live performances, I thought it was worth a try.
Brilliant album - really gets in the groove - different to live performances of course, but it still has a lot of power and great great soul. Buy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The "shakin" shakes, 18 May 2012
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
I discovered this band by accident,rummaging around the internet. Had the CD ordered five minutes later. My taste in music is varied and I would describe myself as a sixty year old music fan who has never lost the love of good music, from any genre. To me the obvious attraction was Brittany Howards voice but that would sell the rest of the band short. They play their part fully in this and cook away with the best of them. "Hold on" "I found you" "You ain't alone" "Boys and girls" "Be mine" stand out. I don't know if this is their first album but it is a good start and I will be keeping an eye open for the next one. One thing I have noticed is that they appear to be a very "Live" band. A quick tune into you tube should prove me right. That "Live" sound is not captured so well on the CD. However I have enjoyed listening to it and am now converting my kids. Give the "Shakes" a listen.
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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
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shaken Not Stirred, 18 April 2012
By 
This review is from: Boys & Girls (MP3 Download)
The hype is enormous and, from their live performances, they are a shot in the arm - a raucous wail and driving rhythms. The problem is, someone in the control room of the recording studios decided they needed to smooth some of the hard edges and, as a result, the urgency, power and soul have been diluted. Such a shame as these kids are gonna go far! Maybe someone will have the bright idea of releasing a 'deluxe' version double CD which includes a live recording of the album. Hmmm!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars five star must own, 8 May 2012
This review is from: Boys & Girls (MP3 Download)
Brittany Howard's voice somehow reaches to the darkest part of your soul and pulls out something you never knew was there, this is an album to devote some time to, it's impossible to listen to this breath taking smash debut album without feeling it's roots, soulful and reticent and simultaneously provocative and honest this complex album has so much of what we like here. It's all about a connection somewhere, and this bluesy, soulful gem is impossible to ignore.

These songs are better live and some of the magic is lost in the record, but it's still great.

True southern soul, this album has so many clear influences that if you drew a line through soul, funk and blues they would cross at this album, which means it should be in your collection. Recorded in Nashville and rooted in their homelands of Alabama, this is familiar and original at the same time, every track is not just hooked, but barbed, I couln't make it though in a single play, i listened to most track twice over on the way through.

If your looking for hope, uplifting funk inspired tunes check out "I ain't the same" or the opener track "Hold On" which just fire along in the most satisfying way, I challenge you to listen to these to and not want to tap something in time.... If you want gut wrenching tear pullers that throttle the throat and claw at your heart, light candles sit back with headphones on and be carried somewhere blue by "you ain't alone" or "heart-breaker".... Do not miss playing this end to end and enjoy the ride.

This is a five star must own, and do yourself a favour, don't download this, go out and buy it in a box, and play it over and over, this will be hard to take out of my daily play....
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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 
Andy Sweeney "music was my first love" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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 Stunning, 28 Sept. 2012
By 
Mr. P. Handley (Southsea, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Boys & Girls (MP3 Download)
I've rarely felt compelled to write reviews about albums, but found the Alabama Shakes, Girls & Boys album absolutely stunning.

The howling vocals on the more up-tempo tracks like I Found You really get my head nodding, but my absolute stand out track is Hang Loose.

I'd been listening to this for several months on Spotify before deciding I wanted to buy it for ease of switching between devices, but it was only when I purchased it that I did more research into the band, started watching videos etc. I was quite surprised that the vocalist turned out to be female, I was convinced it was a bloke singing for several months, but wow - what a voice she has.

If only the gig tickets hadn't all gone so quickly
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