Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, and Ann Wilson. These are some of the most prolific, soulful female singers who got backed by an often-undervalued band that would provide the sweet progressions they would sing over. While not currently on the same level as the formerly mentioned artists Phlecia Sullivan certainly has a lot of promise. On the recent release Golden Days by Year Of October she sings confidently in a blues - a bit country-inspired way - that exudes power and control. Josh Sullivan (bass, guitars) and Greg Diamanti (drums) provide the music, which is a mix of blues, country and rock.
This music could have been played fifty years ago and people would have dug it. The basic sound, chord progressions and overall feels rather timeless in 2014. The analog crunchy guitar tone Jack White brought to the mainstream again is present as is a basic bare bones approach to music.
Golden Days is a pretty solid effort from top to bottom. Not every song hit me in a visceral way but for the most part the quality of the songwriting is consistent. The opener “Golden Days” is a certified blues- inspired rock song that showcases Sullivan’s vocal range. I especially enjoyed the subtle moments where it was just bass, drums and vocals.
“You Were Mine” is written somewhere along the Appalachian hills and prairies in the flatlands. The music combines elements of The Animals and Johnny Cash, Not bad my friend, not bad. One of the finest songs on the album was the acoustic based “Kentucky.” Sullivan sounds especially good on this. Her voice sounded warm against the acoustic and she sings with heartfelt conviction that contains moments of beauty.
Overall, there was some very notable material here. I wish the quality was a bit better at times such as when they introduce heavily distorted guitars but it’s not a huge gripe. Golden Days delivers so give it a spin.
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