Things have been going well for Swedish bluesy hard rock group, the aptly named Blues Pills. They’ve already embarked on a headline tour around Europe this year, and appeared at such prestigious festivals as Hellfest and Desertfest – and all that before they had put out a full length release, such is the strength of their 2013 EP Devil Man and their blinding live show. With smoothly executed fun bluesy hard rock, punctuated by the vocal talents of the brilliant Elin Larsson they more than live up to their promise with their stunning self titled debut album.
Taking the bluesy guitar sound of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, and combining it with grooving bass and punchy drumming the album feels like a trip back to the psychedelic rock of the 1960’s, but with an updated modern production and it’s a great sound. Guitarist Dorian Sorriaux is an exceptional talent, playing rocking riffs with a delightfully fuzzy guitar tone and delivering fantastic solos that sound somewhere between Jimi Hendrix and Jimi Page – especially impressive at the age of just 19. The way the band jam is really smooth as well, the three musicians have a great chemistry and sense of rhythm, and listening to them play is a treat, it sounds so natural and impressive for such a new band. It’s vocalist Elin Larsson who steals the show though, her voice is sublime. With soul and power in equal measure, she emphatically belts out the bluesy numbers with breathtaking power and soul – think Janis Joplin with an almost heavy metal, more in-your-face approach.
The album is full of great catchy songs, with opener High Class Woman kicking it off with grooving riffs and incredible vocals, in an infectiously upbeat track. Black Smoke is one of the highlights, with the way it builds from a slower bluesier start to a fantastic hard rock belter filled with classic in your face heavy riffs, emphatic emotional solos and a groovy rhythm section, not to mention the stunning soulful vocals of Elin. The River is more of a downtempo bluesy piece, letting Elin show off the full power and soul of her voice, while Gypsy echoes the psychedelic rock of Jimi Hendrix in an upbeat masterpiece, defying anyone not to nod along with a cheesy grin. Perhaps the only let down is that Devil Man is a different version to the one present on last year’s EP of the same name, the solo leading into the verse in this version not quite as powerful as the way Elin belted out the lyrics solo before the main riff kicked in, but it’s a good reworking and enjoyable nonetheless.
Overall Blues Pills jam with such energy, passion and pure talent that it’s hard not to fall in love with their sound. It’s so upbeat and fun, the songs so incredibly well written and catchy, and the voice of Elin so enchanting that they’re not just another band in the retro female fronted hard rock scene of late – they’re right at the top of the pack. Magical bluesy fun.