BLUES PILLS (Bliss) 10"
This new band, consisting of musicians from Sweden, USA and France (featuring ex-members of Radio Moscow and the current drummer of Dead Man), should be at the forefront of the 1970's blues rock retrospective going on in the heavy music scene right now. BLUES PILLS' debut 10" explains why this should be the case. There are four excellent tracks on 'Bliss' which show that they are masters of their trade. In the centre of these is singer Elin Larsson. Her powerful vocals are full of emotion, without ever falling in the trap of an aestheticisation of kitsch. Basically, she has more power in comparison with some male colleagues. This is most obvious in the first song on the B-side, 'Devil Man', but also in other respects Elin Larsson is doing a killer job. I do not mean to say that the other four guys can't hold the candle to her, but with a male singer BLUES PILLS would lose a great deal of identity.
Right from the start, BLUES PILLS provide a sparkling display of Hendrix-influenced riffs and plenty of energy. The opener 'Bliss' is the only song here that is sung in Swedish, which of course immediately reminds me to Sweden's premier 1970's heavy rock outfit November. This is followed by 'Astralplane', where BLUES PILLS slow down the pace a little. They brings the blues even more to the fore and Elin Larsson enchants me again with her raunchy, explosive and soulful voice. But also in other areas, there is nothing to complain about. The band is a tight, unstoppable force with a strong songwriting talent.
I also love the raw energy in the instrumentation, and the production and engineering on this 10" are perfect (at least for my taste). The sound is unpolished and rough, but not too muddy. This is further underscored by the second side, that kicks off with the abovementioned 'Devil Man' what is probably the most aggressive track here. 'Bliss' concludes with 'Little Sun' that starts slow and bluesy before it picks up the pace and turns into a blistering hard rocker. Again, there's enough tempo and textural variety to keep things moving. By the way, I very much like the fact that the song lyrics have been printed on the backcover. On the whole, 'Bliss' is a killer debut and I can hardly wait until the release of the first album, because I definitely need more of these PILLS.