Grace Potter & The Nocturnals' "The Lion The Beast The Beat"

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals' "The Lion The Beast The Beat"

  • Article by: Jon O'Brien
  • Posted: 06/09/2012

Vermont chanteuse Grace Potter may be blessed with a voice as bluesy as Bonnie Raitt, as soulful as Grace Slick and as whisky-soaked as Janis Joplin, but fourth album, The Lion The Beast The Beat, proves that she and her three-piece backing band, The Nocturnals, aren’t interested in trading on nostalgia. 

Co-produced with Jim Scott (Tom Petty), it’s a record which will undoubtedly alienate some fans of their earlier rawer sound, but from the clock-ticking honky tonk of “Timekeeper,” to the psychedelic soul of “Runaway,” it’s one which feels like a natural transition rather than a haphazard attempt to jump aboard any particular commercial bandwagon. 

Even the ventures into indie-disco territory appear effortless, whether it’s the pulsing bass-lines and playful percussion of “Never Go Back,” (one of three collaborations with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach), or “Turntable,” an inspired slice of stinging electro featuring a clever lust-for-vinyl metaphor.

Reflecting the album’s concept, “the duality of human nature,” Potter’s distinctive tones also provide a master-class in versatility. The cathartic title track sees her roaring out of the blocks amidst a wave of clattering drums, cinematic strings and swamp-rock riffs, whilst the soaring acoustic balladry of “Stars” and the dreamy alt-country of “Parachute Heart” showcase a vulnerability she should perhaps explore more often. 

Revelling in a sense of adventure but without ever truly abandoning their Southern rock roots, The Lion The Beast The Beat is the kind of leap forward which deserves to launch Grace Potter & The Nocturnals into the big league.

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