Alabama Shakes – ‘Hold On’

So goddamn catchy that they just cannot fail

You know you’re going mainstream when Jamie Oliver starts tweeting good luck messages at you for your forthcoming tour. That Alabama Shakes have reached such a position after only three months in the limelight is pretty staggering, but the reason is simple: they’ve got a set of songs so self-assured and so goddamn catchy that they just cannot fail right now.

Yeah, they may break pretty much all the rules about what you should be doing in music in 2012 (make no bones, theirs is a style rooted deep in the soul of the past), but what they do do – perfectly encapsulated in the truck-stop swagger of ‘Hold On’, complete with its “Come on Brittany!” giddy-ups and Keef-meets-Gram cowboy guitar line – is currently unrivalled in the Big Guitar Music stakes.

From here, it’s easy to envisage how things should pan out for the band: 1) mega buzzy UK debut gigs; 2) show-stealing performances on …Jools Holland; 3) Jack White collaborations; 4) a total blitzing of UK mainstream radio; 5) Rolling Stones/U2/Macca support slots a-plenty, and so on, until BOOM! Three years down the line and they’re playing to 12,000 people at Ally Pally. The Followills and Black Keys had better watch out, that’s all we’re saying…

Matt Wilkinson



  • Record label: Rough Trade