The Alabama Shakes are one of the hottest acts in music right now, and after their performance on the Conan O’Brien Late Show, the world received a taste of the raw, ‘Bama soul that sounds oh-so-sweet live, the same sound my friend John Thompson, co-owner of Callaghan’s Irish Social Club (Mobile, Ala.), had described about their performance at his venue last November.
On April 10, the Shakes are scheduled to release their debut album “Girls & Boys” (available now for pre-order). Not only is this a major milestone for the group, but also the time where audiences will find out if the group can bottle that same live sound and somehow transform it into a unique in the studio, not losing something important in translation.
On their first full-length album, the North Alabama quartet live up to the reputation they’ve built on the strength of a Southern soul-drenched EP and their raucous live shows. Singer Brittany Howard unleashes her rafter-shaking pipes on highlights like “Be Mine” and “I Ain’t the Same” – classic R&B stomps that could’ve rolled out of nearby Muscle Shoals circa 1971. And the Shakes stretch out their sound on “On My Way,” a haunting, Kings of Leon-ish rocker. “We’ve got country influences, rockabilly, gospel, indie-rock,” says Howard. “We’re not just into doing retro-soul. We obviously love that music, but we want people to know we have more to give.”