Vermont exported one of their greatest talents in 2005 when Grace Potter and the Nocturnals released their debut album Nothing But the Water. Since then Ms. Potter and her motley crew put out three records and on June 12th they released their fourth studio record, The Lion the Beast the Beat. This album is an 11 track rock record that features mellow songs that still rock.
The records opening track is also the title track “The Lion the Beast the Beat”. This song features a pounding rhythm that is laid back powerful, and accompanied by keyboards and Potter’s vocals. The track really starts to take off at 1:40 when a steady kick leads in a rocking riff and Potter’s vocals get darker. The next track is the album’s first single, “Never Go Back” which is a very groove centered track which starts out with what sounds like a programed drum loop. This leads into a very tight bass line which is doubled by the guitar. It also features an odd sounding guitar part that sounds like an e-bow mixed with a slide. The fourth track on the album is entitled “Stars”, and is my favorite track. It seems lyrically as if it is an ode to loss love, and to what once was. One will also enjoy the alternate version of the song featuring country crooner Kenney Chesney. “Timekeeper” follows, and is a great track that features a very jazzy feel in the beginning, but then the chorus rolls around, and you remember that this is a Rock and Roll record. The next track I took note of was the seventh track, “Turntable” which is a great rock and roll tune full of innuendo and swagger. “Keepsake” is the eighth track on the album, and at points it seems very restrained. I think they could have done more to make the track build more because when it got to the chorus it seemed very anti-climactic. Next up is “Runaway”, a very soulful jazz inspired track that features a great vocal performance. The final track on the album is entitled “The Divide”, and it strikes me as one of those big rock radio songs that is unexpected yet people love. I think the track has tremendous depth and tremendous musicianship. The track also features a great guitar solo that starts at the 3:30 mark and sounds like Joe Perry, Slash, and Jack White tangled up in a dark alley. With that the album comes to a close.
When buying albums there are three things I consider: Songwriting, Production, and an artist’s integrity. When I picked up this album I got all three. This to me makes it a good purchase, and one of the top albums of the year.
Check out the Music Video for “Never Go Back” below: