(This review first appeared in issue #75 of Shindig! magazine.)
Single Lock CD / LP
Muscle Shoals is famed for its soul music but Belle Adair's second LP makes it clear there are other sounds to be found in modern day Alabama. With a sound rooted in '70s soft pop and melodies and tempos more indebted to Teenage Fanclub than to the purveyors of deep, brassy soul, Belle Adair channel the same introspective melancholia that made the records of Big Star and Badfinger such a bittersweet delight.
Though the record is named after the band's hometown and was produced at the legendary FAME Studios by longtime Wilco collaborator Tom Schick, there's an unmistakable Anglophile tint to it. Personal but universal lyrics, chiming guitar arpeggios, gentle organ washes and Matt Green's understated vocals all help recall the legacy of the British invasion and merge it with some southern state sadness. A successful and intoxicating mix, and one that deserves to resonate far beyond the Cotton State.