Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
on 4 May 2012
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.