Albums to watch

Boys & Girls

Alabama Shakes

Boys & Girls

Much anticipated debut album from the Athens, Alabama soul rock quartet

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  1. 10.0 |   The Independent

    The sound of a band that knows exactly how to animate its songs with the minimum of effort, to maximum effect
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  2. 9.0 |   PopMatters

    Boys & Girls is more than a debut album. It’s an introduction to a band you thought you knew for years, but are just fortunate enough to meet now
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  3. 8.6 |   Paste Magazine

    The Shakes have said they look to punk and hard rock as much as anything else, and the melding of those influences with the band’s rootsy, passionate appeal results in a style all their own, free of cynicism and brimming with vitality
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  4. 8.3 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    A wild album, an honest collection visibly drenched in blood, sweat and tears. It’s more emotion than revival, more soul than renewal
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  5. 8.0 |   The Digital Fix

    It’s not just the Brittany Howard show. Alabama Shakes as a whole are tight knit: the neat drum fills and swaggering southern licks providing an ample backdrop to support the magnitude of her voice
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  6. 8.0 |   Prefix

    Similarly to a well-crafted combination of Cajun spices, the tracks on Boys & Girls blend together nicely. The main flavors of blues rock and R&B stand out enhanced, but other hidden elements of soul unexpectedly result in a delicious bite
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  7. 8.0 |   The Observer

    However galvanising the licks and riffs of her bandmates, it's 22-year-old frontwoman Brittany Howard and her gloriously sandpaper voice that fire this engine
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  8. 8.0 |   Independent on Sunday

    The Shakes are expected to be a big noise this year. But whether or not they find favour, they are already a very big noise in their own terms
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  9. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    In Brittany Howard, they have a singer with just the right blend of passion and power in her voice, from the pitiful-me cry of Billie Holiday to the r’n’b rasp of Janis Joplin to the gentle undulations of Aretha Franklin
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  10. 8.0 |   Daily Telegraph

    If Alabama Shakes do nothing original, they strike classic poses with real guts. They can certainly rip it up live
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  11. 8.0 |   BBC

    This Alabama outfit might be the feel-good hit of the summer festival circuit
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  12. 8.0 |   Uncut

    There's something of The White Stripes' somewhat cheeky brand of ancestor worship about them
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  13. 8.0 |   Q

    Spine-tingling modern soul with a spit 'n' sawdust finish. Print edition only

  14. 7.8 |   Pitchfork

    A solid debut, really good but not earth-shifting, a record clearly (blessedly) recorded before anyone much cared who they were or weren't, possibly even before they were entirely sure themselves
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  15. 7.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    It’s like your favourite homemade meal – there’s no surprise ingredient but yet you never tire of the way it tastes
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  16. 7.0 |   NME

    In many ways ‘Boys & Girls’ it is as note-perfect an album as you'll hear all year, yet it's also often perfectly inert
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  17. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    It's like they Spotified up some old Stax records one afternoon, ran down to their basement and filtered them through their innate garage-band drive
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  18. 7.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    It’s safe to assume they’re not just a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears rookies and are, quite possibly, the new faces of modern blues-rock
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  19. 7.0 |   Beats Per Minute

    A short album that clocks in at 35-minutes over the course of 11 songs. But by the time it’s done, you’ll want to start it over again
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  20. 6.7 |   A.V. Club

    Removed from the raised stakes of sweaty rock clubs and music festivals, Alabama Shakes begin to fade into the ranks of like-minded traditionalists, from Tennis to M. Ward. Exciting as it can be, Boys & Girls could use just a little more shakin’ going on
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  21. 6.0 |   Slant Magazine

    A fine album, full of sturdy Southern-fried blues performed with swagger and verve. As the proper debut for a band that's built its reputation on the fearless pandemonium of its live shows, however, Boys & Girls is curiously and deliberately subdued
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  22. 6.0 |   The Scotsman

    While the overall sound is seductive – if unnecessarily muffled in this recording – the songwriting still has a way to go
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  23. 6.0 |   music OMH

    Whether the hype will be justified remains to be seen, but there’s enough here to suggest that there is some substance to the attention currently focussed on Alabama Shakes
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  24. 6.0 |   The Guardian

    The songwriting is decent enough. But Boys & Girls feels slightly polite and artfully constructed
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  25. 6.0 |   The Fly

    Brittany Howard’s gutty vocals constantly fi nd interesting ways to tweak a melody, to delay satisfaction until you’ve earned it
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  26. 6.0 |

    As debut albums go Boys & Girls is a solid one and it's also worthy of note that the band have generated significant buzz for an album which is far removed from the accepted norms of the pop charts
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  27. 6.0 |   State

    Musically, for all their chops and tight ensemble playing, they can too often sound like a slightly above average bar band
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  28. 6.0 |   FasterLouder

    This is not a failure and it is an agreeable record to listen to but it is not one that jumps out at you like the first songs we heard
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  29. 5.0 |   No Ripcord

    For all the promise that is shown, every song is missing the element that might be able to take these songs into the stratosphere
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  30. 5.0 |   Rave Magazine

    A patchy record, varying between the sublime and the downright derivative
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  31. 5.0 |   The Quietus

    A somewhat predictable trawl through the back catalogues of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Stax Records, Janis Joplin and the recorded output of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios amongst others, but with none of the grit, passion or emotion.
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  32. 5.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    In the cold light of day the album feels flat and utterly predictable, Howard sounding less infused with the pained blues soul of Mavis Staples and more like someone shitting a hedgehog
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  33. 4.0 |   Mojo

    Come across a little more than a Kings Of Leon/Black Keys mash-up. Print edition only

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Alabama Shakes: Boys & Girls

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  • 1. Hold On £0.89
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  • 5. You Ain't Alone £0.89
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  • 7. Heartbreaker £0.89
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