By: Emily J Ramey
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I must admit that despite the fact that Grace Potter & The Nocturnals has been a name echoing in my subconscious for some time now, I had never heard their music before this album. I’ve known about so many friends of mine they’ve impressed and shows and festivals they’ve played, and now I’m kicking myself for lost time. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals are blues rock badass.
Grace Potter herself is one of those leggy blondes that girls like me love to hate, but the woman is not just a pretty face; she’s a gritty, wailing rock siren. In the opening track, “Paris (Ooh La La),” Potter breaks into a summery rage, singing fun but fierce lyrics like, “If I was a man, I’d make my move/If I was a blade, I’d shave you smooth/If I was a judge, I’d break the law/And if I was from Paris/If I was from Paris/I would say/Oooh la la la la la la.” The combination of a contagious low, heavy beat and Potter alternately crooning (“She tell him things that would make a grown man cry”) and howling (“I’ve got a plan to take that woman down”) makes “Medicine” one of the funkiest tracks on the album. And loose, mild “Low Road” is just so viscous and rich like honey, the song feels like a humid summer evening, with mellowed lyrics like, “I held on so dearly/To the wrong things in my life,/But now I see so clearly/I was walking into my own knife./You’ve got to get up off that street,/Stop looking at your feet,/And take a hold of something real.”
The single “Tiny Light” showcases the first elaborate instrumentals on the record in the form of a scorching guitar solo, as technical as it is dirty. The intro on “Only Love” harnesses some serious mute picking a la U2’s The Edge, and the bass and keys blend on “Hot Summer Night” is soulful and sexy.
Together Grace Potter & The Nocturnals put out a rootsy 70s rock vibe not unlike a super mod Janis Joplin or Sharon Jones. The band has been a jam rock scene sensation for some time now, but I think this self-titled tour de force is gathering steam for something bigger. Don’t make my mistakes! Stop wasting time and pick up the album, stat.
Emily J Ramey is a burgeoning young music writer, living and working in Nashville, TN. Her background includes journalism classes at New York University and a Music Business degree from Belmont University. Check out her blog at listenerextraordinaire.wordpress.com.
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