I swear it seems as if they don’t breed any good rock n roll female vocalists these days like they did back in the 70’s with the gritty voice that erupted from the stomach that Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and Patti Smith all possessed. These days it seems as if “cute” is the way a lot of female vocalists are going, which is ok in moderation, but sometimes I want to hear a woman really belt a song out. Aaahhh - when I first popped in the new self- titled album by Unwed Mothers I immediately fell in love because it had those raw, womanly vocals that I didn’t even realize I was missing. As I listened to the album I fell more in love with Julie Adams’ voice as she can truly sing and shows you that she means business. Sexy, raw and powerful, her voice is the centerpiece of these songs. However with that being said the band itself shreds. The band is powerful and play a great combination of dirty rock n roll and blues. The music itself reminded me of The Hold Steady in that it wasn’t very experimental and often stuck to cliché rock sounds but in the end you really don’t mind because they do it so well. Their new album is a compilation of some new songs along with some older material. Adams stated “It's a transitional album and has really set the tone for the new band ‘Unwed Mothers’ by moving into a realm that is more attitude driven and rock oriented and moving away from the folk rock/down tempo music I had been more focused on in the past.” I haven’t heard the older stuff but I was thoroughly enjoying the change, as her voice seemed perfect for the music.
The first song “Skeleton” is a awesome rock number that contains dirty bass, crunchy guitars, and a nicely recorded live drum kit and Adams’ voice that just soars during the chorus. The second song “Lose Control” introduces some blues elements and Adams; voice sounds a bit more refined and soulful in the beginning before the band starts to rock and her voice goes up a couple of octaves. I would guess that “White Knight” might be a crowd pleaser in a live situation. The song has a straightforward rock n roll arrangement that could have fans singing along by the second chorus. Ironically I think my favorite song on the album, the last song entitled “Slow,” was the least rock n roll. It sounded like something that could be on the next beach house record and was atmospheric although the guitars weren’t in the center as in the other songs. Instead a beautiful organ was present and sounded great in the song. The vocals as expected sounded exceptional but the melody itself was probably the catchiest of the album. After listening to the album I was somewhat depressed that most bands have no idea how to make this type of music anymore. The Unwed Mothers are a rare gifted breed that made a rock n roll album Jefferson Airplane would be proud of.
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