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Blues Pills – Blues Pills

International blues rockers up the ante

This could be the best blues rock album you’ll hear this year. Blues Pills are plugged in to the genre’s red-blooded core, and there’s a groove and energy that runs through every track on this full-length debut.

Compared to last year’s Devil Man EP, Blues Pills is a little more crafted. Some might miss the ebullient rawness of that previous release, but this is more than made up by the quality of the songwriting and the charisma of the performances. There are moments of high drama, as on No Hope Left For Me and Little Sun. There are the brisk injections of Black Smoke and Astralplane, and the slight sleaze strut of River.

The sound throughout is built around the astonishingly earthy vocals of Elin Larsson and the fluent guitar sling from Dorian Sorriaux. It’s like listening to early Fleetwood Mac fronted by Tina Turner. Or to be more up to date, Rival Sons coloured by rising blues star Jo Harman. The band even throw in a cover of Chubby Checker’s Gypsy to show their roots. But what makes this such a big deal is that it sounds like Blues Pills, not a throwback to a classic regime.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.