If you want to know my initial opinion of Blues Pills, first check out my review of their earlier EP ‘Devil Man’ at http://www.avenoctum.com/2013/10/blues-pills-devil-man-nuclear-blast/ . At that time, I’d yet to catch them on stage, and was slightly worried that the live sound might not match the recording. Since then I’ve seen them in late 2013 when they opened for Orchid in London, and then been disappointed when they were a no show for a co-headlining gig with Scorpion Child in Glasgow. What I can say, from the one all too brief set I saw Blues Pills play at Camden’s Dingwalls is that the first CD was not a tribute to autotune and engineering, but rather a reflection of the band’s live power, and on that basis ‘Live At Rockpalast’ is a superlative capture of their sound, raw and with no need for artificial enhancement.
Elin Larsson’s vocals blast out from the start of this EP, a voice that is not just pure power and technical proficiency, but also laden with genuine passion and emotion, a quality that is almost inevitably missing from modern mainstream female vocalists such as Jessie J who are lauded for their ability. And, before you ask, yes, I’ve seen her live when she was doing an in store show at HMV’s soon to close flagship Oxford Street store, and I had to elbow my way past camera phone flashing drones to get to the metal aisle. See, I do have occasional exposure to modern pop culture. However, in the live forum, incandescent as it is, Elin’s voice doesn’t dominate as much as it did on the first EP, the live setting allowing the instrumentalists of the band to shine. Indeed, only the first three tracks, ‘In The Beginning’, ‘Black Smoke’ and ‘Little Sun’ have lyrics, closer ‘Mind Exit’ being an instrumental number that sounds like a free form blues jam, but I’m sure is the result of a combination of practise and ability that makes the result sound spontaneous. On guitar the frighteningly young Dorrian Sorriaux sounds like he is channelling the spirit of Free’s Paul Kossof, whilst the rhythm section is as tight as Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell from The Experience. If you don’t get the references, do an online search and from that you can easily work out how high a compliment I am paying.
With the massively high bar that the band have set for themselves with these two EPs, Blues Pills first album should be superlative. I can only hope they continue with the momentum they have created.