Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a throw-back hard rocking band from Vermont with two albums already under their belts. Their previous album — This is Somewhere — was ok. Their latest release however, the eponymously titled “Grace Potter and the Nocturnals,” that is an entirely different story.
The best way to sum this album up is to say it drips rock’n’roll. Just check out this video of the lead track, Paris (Ooh La La) shot in a motel room:
This isn’t pretty music, it’s gritty, dirty rock. Reminiscent of great blues rock bands from the Sixties and Seventies. The easy comparison is to Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane — their cover of White Rabbit is electrifying — and while that feels a little too easy, it is apt. This rough and tumble sound is best exemplified on songs like Medicine, with it’s sinewy guitars and powerful vocals. There are more delicate tunes, Colors, Goodbye Kiss, and Things I Never Needed are all fine ballads, but the best cuts from this album are when the amps get turned up and the band gets down. The band might have glammed up their look, but the music remains as raw as ever.
An interesting side note about this record is it’s history. Originally, Grace Potter was working with roots music impresario T-Bone Burnett on a record. However, she shelved that effort and instead recorded this full band album with Mark Batson. Batson is most well known for his hip-hop work, and the underrated Stand Up by Dave Matthews Band. To say that was a risky move is something of an understatement. The end result however is the best album in the band’s catalog. If you are at all interested in good old fashioned rock I strongly recommend picking this album up. My favorite disc of the year so far.