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Tuesday, April 14

Album Review: Alanna Royale - Achillies

Led by the vivacious voice of Alanna Quinn-Broadus, the Nashville based Alanna Royale comes out strong with its debut album ACHILLES. With clever arrangements, primarily based in jazz and soul, the band truly accentuates the emotion in the lyrics and vocals. Something about Alanna’s vocals seems to draw listeners in and engrain her feelings into their hearts. As I listen to the album over and over, I keep finding more and more words to describe it, so much so that it becomes jumbled and nonsensical. It’s almost like meeting a beautiful woman and trying to talk to her, but there are just so many things that you want to say that it comes out as gibberish. I will do my best, however, in the time and space that I am allotted.

From the very start, the band ensnares listeners with a hypnotic, rolling bass. Then, Alanna comes in and takes your ears by storm. Next, the band gets super funky with “Animal.” Then, Alanna comes in and completely steals the show. “Nobody Else” starts off slow and jazzy, and then, Alanna belts out an unbelievable wave of passionate sound. Noticing a pattern yet?
This trend continues with “Cop Show” as the band goes on to set a groovy ambience. As much as Alanna stands out, it is simply impossible to neglect the impact that the rest of the band has on these tracks. From the funky, unwavering guitar to the masterful, fitting horn arrangements, and all the way down to the succinct, groovy rhythm section, the band provides an unmatchable foundation for Alanna to build on and lead their audience on its inevitable journey.
After roaring her way through “Phantom Limb,” Alanna gets a bit sassy with “Big Time Me,” showing off a bit of her diva side, which I believe every great singer is entitled to here and there. As the end of the album approaches, the band gets deep with “Rock & Stone,” reaching new heights untouched by the rest of the album as Alanna fades out with “You know I’ll never stop singin’.”
An album of this caliber cannot end on anything besides a high note, and Alanna Royale provides the ultimate closure for the project with “Go Back.” This tune invokes the spirit of our Southern Soul ancestors: Sam and Dave, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, all in one song. It’s almost as if the world renowned Stax Records itself is reborn in this one final climax of ACHILLES.
As a southerner myself, it makes me extremely proud to hear such a record coming from the Nashville based Alanna Royale. It is the kind of record that is living proof that Soul music is still alive and well and still has the ability to bring out the same kind of raw passion and spirit that has played such a monumental role in the development in modern music. I cannot wait to see what lies in the future for Alanna Royale.
Words by: Ragin' Randy Harris
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