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Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

GRACE Potter & The Nocturnals are tearing up a strip States-side. Named as one of Rolling Stone‘s Best New Bands of 2010, the band then rocketed into the Billboard Top 20 upon releasing their eponymous debut album, and now look set to emulate that succes in the UK.

Essentially a collection of blues-based rock tracks that channel the classic songwriting of Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Fleetwood Mac, the album is brimming with quality.

Potter, herself, has a tremendous set of vocals that are as feisty, as times, as they are intimate at others, while her band members provide some thrilling instrumental backing.

Former single Tiny Light sets the standard well, having emerged as an initially breezy soft-rock offering in the Fleetwood Mac mode that drops a really anthemic chorus. Although inspired by the onset of the economic crisis, it sounds a note of optimism and is evidence of Potter’s intelligent lyricism.

The outro, meanwhile, is a thrilling blend of screams, guitars and passion that provide a head-rush finale.

But that’s not the whole story. Far from it. Potter outlines her immense credentials from the outset… another single, Paris (Ooh La La) reiterating her no-nonsense approach over the album’s opening moments. It’s a playful song that boasts a slick, sing-along chorus (“if I was from Paris, I would say ooh la la la”) and some fiery guitar riffs. Potter, meanwhile, belts out lines such as “you’ve got me down on the floor, so what’d you bring me down her for?” and “If I was a judge I’d break the law”.

Oasis, on the other hand, hits you with a cute guitar intro and some really endearing melodies, with Potter assuming a more sultry tone, which comes in stark contrast to a Tina Turner-inspired vocal turn on Medicine, a rock-tastic tale of a black magic woman.

Goodybe Kiss changes tack again, infusing some country-leaning guitars and some fine mouth organ around a more intimate, even vulnerable vocal that laments the loss of a relationship. Potter is both heart-breaking and fearless… channelling her grief and regret before putting her man on the spot to call their relationship what it is and giving her a goodbye kiss.

Moving forward, Colors – with its laidback piano intro and string arrangements – boasts a cinematic quality that makes it so much more than a simple album filling ballad (it was written after President Obama was elected), while Only Love picks up the pace with a really buzzing guitar riff and a return to feisty form.

Money is a blues infused rocker that’s brimming with sassy lyricism, One Short Night a raunchy ode to a one night stand, Low Road a heartfelt reach out to a friend, and Hot Summer Night a suitably steamy rock out that seduces with its retro riffs and cheeky lyricism. Potter, meanwhile, really belts out the lyrics during the verses, before kicking back and having fun over the radio-friendly chorus.

In short, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals have created a barnstorming breakthrough album that has justifiably turned them into one of the buzz bands of the moment. Having conquered America, England looks set to swoon to their charms.

Read our interview with Grace Potter

Download picks: Paris (Ooh La La), Goodbye Kiss, Tiny Light, Colors, Hot Summer Night, Money, Low Road

Track listing:

  1. Paris (Ooh La La)
  2. Oasis
  3. Medicine
  4. Goodbye Kiss
  5. Tiny Light
  6. Colors
  7. Only Love
  8. Money
  9. One Short Night
  10. Low Road
  11. That Phone
  12. Hot Summer Night
  13. Things I Never Needed