ILL is an Atlanta-based three-piece rock band and “Gotten Gains” is their second full-length album. The members of ill, Damion Goodpaster (Synth, Piano, and Vocals), Marlon Patton (Drums), and Ryan Waters (Guitar and Vocals) describe their sound as, “Big blues riffs done with a punk attitude and very much rooted in soul’.
The first two songs on the the album, ‘One Time’ and ‘A’ are high octane rockers that can rival any Queens Of The Stone Age song’s, ‘One Time’, especially with its laid back vocal part, letting the guitar do the talking, this song has a great solo in it, a very grove inspired track.
‘There are Worse Things Than Being Alone’ treads the same path as the previous, a good uptempo song, with a kicking drum beat.
Then its time for a change, and ‘Christine’ a 7 1/2 minute masterpiece provides this, in spades, a creepy, dark and disturbing song, with nice touches of piano leading the listener down to a very dark place, before the song erupts into a musical climax, deeply disturbing, and all the better for it.
‘Bitch’ and ‘Castration’ bring us back into ILL’s territory, much more rock than blues, with ‘Castration’ being the most open track on this cd, a very good introduction to the band if this where ever to be a single. A fast paced Rock n Blues mix.
‘Finches’ is a foot stomper, a chugging guitar inspired track coupled with a beautiful middle piano section, probably my favourite track on this cd.
‘Gold and Opal’ is a piano based track, not instantly accessible as some of the other tracks, but as least shows the band have no hesitation in trying something different.
Guitarist Ryan Waters is in the touring line up of UK soul legend, Sade, so its no surprise that the album include a cover of the Sade classic, Pearls.
This is so much different to the Sade version, but this one fits in with the rest of the record in style and substance, it blends in very well. A very strong way to end an album.
This will reward the listener with soulful blues infused rock, touching Stoner along the way, though kicking out the sonic levels of Nine Inch Nails. All in all, a very satisfying release with some great solid rock tunes, complimented by the experimental part of ILL, I think this will grow into one of my favourite releases of 2012.
A rewarding 8/10
check out the bands website www.illrocks.com/ for free downloads.