This time, three years after their critically acclaimed "Boys & Girls", they are trying to be more raw, vocally at least, and more 70's psychedelic with their sound ("Gemini" will nearly blow your mind). Don't get me wrong, it's still a 2015 thing going on here. But there is a sense of retro freedom and creative euphoria in the songs, even in the darkest ones, that make you listen to the band and Brittany's voice like it's their first attempt in the studio ever.
The desperation part is turned off. No lyrics like "I didn’t think I’d make it to 22 years old", no country echoes, no best new artist burden going around. "The greatest" and "Shoegaze" make them big time rock stars. "Don't wanna fight" is the connection between their two albums, spiritually speaking. "This feeling", one of their best records, could be an India.Arie/Mumford & Sons collaboration and their outro, "Over my head", could be a new Nikka Costa or even a new Prince song.
The constant use of triplets is on. Her powerhouse lungs are also on. Their 70's experimentation is more than welcome, while the vibraphone/strings intro in "Sound & Color" is beautifully weird. Everything is on, fighting, in order to make them better as musicians. And that's the truth about Alabama Shakes' sophomore album - they have become better as musicians. And if you watched their mini gig in SNL, you can admit they have become even better as performers.