Pristine - Ninja album review

Blues/psych rock you don’t need a retro-fetish to enjoy

Cover art for Pristine - Ninja album

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The opening twangs of Ninja album opener, You Are The One, weave jaunty country blues with a funky classic R&B twist that evokes Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. It’s a perfect, ear-grabbing opener for the Norwegian blues rock band’s fourth album. Frontwoman Heidi Solheim’s stunning vocals flit from beautifully delicate to raw and powerful, and it’s no surprise that the band have toured alongside Blues Pills. Pristine draw heavily on the sounds of the 60s, with swirling Hammond organ, drawn-out psych passages and groovy guitar solos. There’s also straight-up, classic soul worship in the mammoth-sounding The Perfect Crime, where Heidi’s vocals shine and are beautifully accentuated by a backing choir, and there’s more than a hint of Deep South swagger peppered throughout, especially on Ghost Chase. Pristine have solid songs that are rich with soul and have just the right amount of 60s-tinged nostalgia without tumbling into a patchouli-soaked pit.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.