Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color
Critic Score
Based on 29 reviews
2015 Ratings: #84 / 776
Year End Rank: #26
User Score
Based on 494 ratings
2015 Ratings: #94
April 21, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
ATO / Rough Trade / Label
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Entertainment Weekly

The songs here are far more intricately constructed than anything on the band’s debut, and the musicianship is disciplined almost to a fault; a little unbridled rocking out would actually have injected some needed verve into Color’s quieter second half.

It's a deliberately weird record, but authentically weird; it's chaotic yet cohesive, full of sound, colour and unshakable vision.

If the Shakes’ debut Boys and Girls proved difficult to categorize, then Sound and Color ups that ante even higher, adding doses of psychedelia, punk, and lengthy jamscapes to the band’s already heady musical cocktail.


Sound & Color is a daring and deliberate record, and its greatest success stems from the band’s complete defiance with its choices.

This is stadium soul with one eye peeking toward another galaxy while hands and feet and throats desperately try to suss out life here on Earth.
The cumulative effect is to make the band about more than just Howard’s (still-remarkable) set of pipes.

True to its title, Sound & Color finds a much wider range of textures and contexts for Brittany Howard’s expressive belter of a voice, with impressive variations in pace, delivery and style.

Notes may be reached, riffs rinsed, stop-start moments choreographed, but nothing’s being reached for, on appearance, at least – it’s all so brilliantly effortless.

On their 2015 follow-up, Sound & Color, they free themselves from the vestiges of the past, let loose, and push themselves further in either direction. This could've resulted in a disjointed record pulling itself in two opposing directions, but the mess of Sound & Color is invigorating.

Slant Magazine

Remarkably, for all its genre-hopping and instrumental experimentation, Sound & Color is still sonically cohesive, the product of a band that no longer aspires to just imitate their influences, but to build on them, to draw from diverse sources to create a familiar yet identifiably unique rock n' soul sound.

This is an album that proves that there is far more to this band than meets the eye.
American Songwriter

After the wild success of Alabama Shakes’ debut album, it took a lot of courage to veer into the territory they explore in Sound & Color, a deeply layered collage of tempos and textures – and a seemingly hard left-turn from their previous work.

The 405
One second it will be contemporary soul ('Guess Who') and the next a Jack Daniels fuelled garage-rock riot ('The Greatest'), all without becoming a discordant collection of ideas.

Among rock music of its kind, it's one of the most ­muscular collections in some time, yet it accomplishes this by hardly even flexing.

NOW Magazine

Sound & Color avoids the sophomore slump by packing a sense of purpose into its 12 sleek yet gritty soul tracks.

The Line of Best Fit

While Boys & Girls seemed to crawl out of its creators fully formed, Sound & Color feels like it might require a longer gestation period. It is both brilliant and uneven.

Pretty Much Amazing

The biggest thing that Sound & Color seems to have going for it is how agreeable it all seems. Alabama Shakes don’t rock the boat necessarily, but by refining the formula, they’ve proven they can succeed with a model that has become all too easy to fail with in recent years.

Consequence of Sound

The tinted and tightly paced sophomore effort Sound & Color is an alluring musical rainbow that sets Alabama Shakes apart from niche throwbacks.

Drowned in Sound
While the debt is still to the Sixties and Seventies sounds of Muscle Shoals, of Otis and Aretha, and a big slab of late-era Beatles, the quartet work hard to make this a sonically interesting journey.
Rolling Stone
This is a weirder, woozier, fiercer and sexier record than their debut in nearly every way.
Rather than resting on the laurels of our expectations, Alabama Shakes manage to make roots-rock a surprise again.
A.V. Club

Sound & Color drops some of that urgency in favor of a hefty dose of experimentation, and while the results are intriguing, the record can’t help but meander a bit.

Under The Radar

While it lacks the instant-gratification of Boys and Girls, Sound & Color is nevertheless a prime example of how an old genre can still enthral.

The Guardian

Given that a certain conservatism was the attraction of their debut, it takes guts to mess around with the formula. Not all their experiments work, but it’s hard not to be infected by the excitement when they do.

I was really disappointed with this project. It felt like the life and charm of Boys & Girls was gone and replaced by a bunch of ballads. Not that that's bad but this record didn't feel anywhere near as interesting as their previous project with far less stand out tracks.

Best Track: Sound & Color
Worst Track: This Feeling
Alabama Shake’s Sophomore Record Is Easily One Of The Most Enigmatic Record The 2010’s Had To Offer.

Everything Down From The Very Heavy & Fun, But Intense Wall Of Sound From The Amazing Instrumentation To Brittany Howard’s Amazingly Passionate Vocals That Grip Onto You & Never Want To Let Go!

This Record Makes Me Feel Like Rock Isn’t Just Dead Yet.

Alabama Shakes, Thank You For Bringing Hope Within A Dying Genre.
Shoegaze 95
Future People 95
The Greatest 90
Dunes 90
Don't Wanna Fight 90
Sound and Color 87
Miss You 75
Guess Who 75
Gimme All Your Love 73
Over My Head 72
Gemini 68
This Feeling 61
i don't know why i never listened to this album before, but right now i'm obsessed with it
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Track List

  1. Sound and Color
  2. Don't Wanna Fight
  3. Dunes
  4. Future People
  5. Gimme All Your Love
  6. This Feeling
  7. Guess Who
  8. The Greatest
  9. Shoegaze
  10. Miss You
  11. Gemini
  12. Over My Head
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Added on: February 10, 2015