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Alabama Thunderpussy | Fulton Hill | review | rock | Lollipop
Fulton Hill (Relapse)
by Brian Varney
You know that feeling of weirdness you get when two things from different parts of your life come together, like when you find out that the hot woman you talk to at your local coffeehouse is in a band you like? I had that same sorta feeling when Alabama Thunderpussy, who have slowly but surely become one of my very favorite bands over the past couple of years, announced that their new singer is Johnny Weills, who's from the same town as me (Columbus, Ohio) and whom I've seen and heard in local bands over the years.
It's probably my curiosity at hearing a voice I already know and love trying to mesh with a band I already know and love that made me so excited to hear Fulton Hill. It's always exciting when a band you like releases a new album, but this was something else - I was ravenous to hear it. I would've been really disappointed if this wasn't good, but luckily I don't have to worry about that because it's probably the best AT record so far.
The very first thing you'll notice is the production. AT have never made a bad-sounding record, but Fulton Hill sounds great: Huge and clear, but with none of the essential rock 'n' roll grit scrubbed away. The next thing you'll notice, once you get past the instrumental opener, is Weills's voice. He's less aggro than his predecessor, Johnny Throckmorton, but he still does an excellent job with the full-on metal stuff like "R.R.C.C." and "Blasphemy," and his soul and impressive feel for bluesier, more traditional rock music opens up new avenues for the band like the hit single in waiting that is "Three Stars," a slice of true blue classic rock and also my favorite song on the album. Lead guitarist Ryan Lake also really comes out of shell this time around, peeling off some tremendous solos and also falling into step occasionally with Erik Larson and his guitar Virgil for some soaring melodic twin leads ala Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest. Brutal, beautiful stuff.
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