Blues Pills at The Dome
Music lovers wanting to relive one of rock music’s many heydays are increasingly spoilt for choice as venues are flooded by young bands who wear their ageing influences on their sleeves. Blues Pills – a Swedish-French-American quartet based in the city of Örebro, Sweden – fill this niche for 60s and 70s vintage rock, jangling tambourines, overdriven solos, flowing locks and all.
The band’s look gives Pink Floyd a run for their money, with handlebar moustaches, a psychedelic backdrop, and floral shirts holding back what is sure to be ample chest hair. It’s an authentic re-creation that must have amounted to many hours hunting through musty boutiques, but it gives the band the perfect visual platform to kick off with incisive opener High Class Woman.
The song punches the performance right up to speed, with a momentum that the band have little trouble maintaining, and it makes Blues Pills’ strengths abundantly clear. It’s well-studied rock through and through, with an engrossing rhythm and talented musicianship, and when frontwoman Elin Larsson soulfully belts out the most powerful notes, the whole band are behind her.
Larsson is a force to be reckoned with. Not to be slowed down by false social graces or self-consciousness, she rarely shies away from filling the venue with wails worthy of Joplin herself. Far from being the be-all-and-end-all of Blues Pills, however, Larsson seems in constant competition with the band’s lead guitarist, each of them repeatedly raising the stakes for the other.
Guitarist Dorian Sorriaux’s solos have parallels with early White Stripes tracks, but legitimate influences are found several decades before that. Self-indulgent though they may be, there’s something special about a talented guitarist being given due prominence in the modern age, but it’s a shame that the prolonged solos so often leave the equally talented Larsson futilely shaking a tambourine at centre stage.
It’s not long before the songs fall into a pattern and, as well-constructed as they are, there’s something numbing about the way that every track builds and falls. There’s nothing particularly original about Blues Pills, but their derivativeness is made clear from the off. The only real detractor from their performance is this lack of variation, but they’re nothing if not consistent.
For those with a hankering for vintage rock who find the thought of going to yet another reunion tour more depressing than exciting, Blues Pills may provide a perfect paradox of youthful nostalgia.
Joe Manners Lewis
Photos: Zak Macro
For further information about Blues Pills and future events visit here.
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