I promised I'd talk about that new album by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, so here we go, two years later — just in time for The Lion The Beast The Beat.
The earlier album caught my attention by virtue of the press surrounding it. I figured any band that could snag the attention “it” producer T Bone Burnett, only to turn around and show him the door, was a band worth listening to. I enjoyed what I received — a kick-ass sound somewhat reminiscent of late Lone Justice or early BoDeans. College radio, in other words, from when I was in college.
I gave that disc a fair bit of play, but it did not become the centrepiece for that summer. The Lion The Beast The Beat, on the other hand, has an early lock on that position. Potter still delivers her banshee wail (again, Maria McKee comes to mind) and the Nocturnals hold to that same tight groove that holds the blues-rock-country sound together. But there is also an entirely unexpected wild, poppy geist from left field that blows over the new collection — it can sound a bit like when Sinead O'Connor was still riding the magic; at another point it sounds like we've staggered into a steampunk version of Moulin Rouge (“Loneliest Soul”). The sustained experiment succeeds, bringing verve and snap to the familiar, and producing that rarest and most delightful of sounds: something new.
The Lion The Beast The Beat is going to get a lot of airplay in this house. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals' home is here.