Sulfur City: Talking Loud (Alive Naturalsound)

Canadian roots-rockers broaden the scope of the blues.

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Sulfur City are a Canadian blue-collar roots-rocking outfit fronted by the electric washboard-playing vocalist Lori Paradis. Their visceral brand of blues is sparked by the passionate expression of meaningful narratives, as they power their way through grunge, punk, funk, soul and Cajun influences.

Paradis frequently sounds like Patti Smith, as on the keyboard-led groove of War Going On and the unexpected mid-number rap of Pockets. Her fiery approach infuses a mixed bag of songs with an intensity so often lacking in contemporary blues albums. She overextends herself on One Day In June, but that’s simply because she wants so desperately to share the veracity of her blues, on a bristling album that never settles for anything less. It’s a promising start.