Blues Pills

As a critic, it's easy to become jaded about music, given the amount of albums I get the chance to hear in a given year. When you hear so much, it begins to blend together, and the special spark that you're always looking for becomes continually more difficult to find. Both age and attrition make it so that we should be able to pull less and less out of each year, but that is not what I have found. Over the course of my time writing about music, the opposite has held true.

When I reviewed Blues Pills' “Devil Man” EP last year, I came away from it thinking that they were a rock band that needed to rock less. That sounds odd, but it was their softer songs that floored me, that made me take notice that they were a band with massive potential. There was something special in that sound, something that wasn't captured by their heavier numbers. I feared that they were going to insist on proving their rock credentials, thereby holding themselves back from greatness. For once in my life, I'm happy to say I was wrong.

The origins of hard rock and heavy metal lay in the blues (Black Sabbath started out as a blues band, after all), yet I have never found much appeal in that particular form of music. Whether talking about the original wave of blues artists, or the later blues revivalists, or the blues-rockers who use it as a way to sell lousy rock records, none of it has ever made an impact with me. I find that funny, since I tend to specialize in all manner of downbeat and depressing art. For whatever reason, the blues has eluded me.