If all good things really come to those who wait, then this week’s iTunes Single of the Week, Alabama Shakes’s “Hold On,” was definitely worth the wait. Impeled by the textured voice from lead singer Brittany Howard, Alabama Shakes lends an honest hand that shelves one’s most pressed inner insecurities then points the way to that withheld reservoir of respirable resilience.
Howard opens the ballad with an authentic layer of skepticism, that are easy to wear and then sneak up on listeners when one finds her embedded in the lyrics, “Didn’t think I’d make it to twenty-two years old / There must be someone up above saying, ‘Come on Brittany, you got to come on up’.” When a song includes a sense of being an autobiography there’s an added layer of unspoken trust where it’s easier to be more emotionally open to the sublime message Alabama Shakes goes on to deliver.
With her one of a kind call, cry and tone, the young singer goes on to affix her presence in the lyrics in the fashion of the late greats James Brown and Otis Redding where each of the words carry such heartwarming depth and zealous versatility. Such qualities from Alabama Shakes are in full display near the end where droplets of sweat and tears would, if possible, ooze out of the speakers.
Sans Howard, “Hold On” is mundanely cyclical in its melody. The structure of the instrumental composition of the piece is unique for it seems Howard’s bandmates decide to not even attempt to get in the way of the singer. A pinch in the climactic middle of the track guitarist Heath Fogg does hint to have some semblance of creativity with a nice stretch of swift power picks that seem to be the only instance of musicianship.
In any other piece the significant repetitive quality mixed with the creative banality exhibited by the musician would lead their creation to be as popularly received as hammering nails to their ears. But, because the soul of “Hold On” bursts by so brightly from Howard that those seeming flaws become instrumental to its sparkle.
With their debut album, “Boys & Girls,” scheduled for release later this month, Alabama Shakes looks aligned to be the darlings of indie-rock. With “Hold On,” now available free to download from the iTunes Music Store, the band sets a delightful early impression of their abilities to emotionally connect with their fans to convey the frailties, impatience, and most prevailingly, the strengths enclosed within us.