ILL is an Atlanta-based three-piece rock band and “Gotten Gains” is their second full-length album. The band describe their sound as: “Big blues riffs done with a punk attitude and very much rooted in soul. To us, the lines of classification between Ray Charles and Black Sabbath are very blurry”. With these words ringing in the back of my mind I started listening to their latest record.
Despite sharing the same blues roots, I do hear a significant difference between Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman” and any given Black Sabbath song, but it does signify that the gents in ILL have a broad taste in music. That’s a very good thing in my book. The first two songs on the the album, “One Time” and “A” high octane rockers that can rival with any Queens Of The Stone Age or Monster Magnet hit. “There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone” has this classy Rolling Stones vibe about it and the creepy “Christine” features some unlikely nods to Prince. Fortunately without his trademark stickiness though. This is just a small taste of what “Gotten Gains” has to offer.
“Bitch” and “Pearls” are two brilliant songs which put The Artic Monkeys and The Kaiser Chiefs to shame. “Castration” is just catchy as hell and would have put a smile on Ray Charles’ face if he still would be among the living. These gents aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, nonetheless they managed to put their own signature stamp on it. This, together with their uncanny songwriting abilities make “Gotten Gains” a very memorable listening experience.
“Gotten Gains” by ILL is a very rewarding effort that ticks all the right boxes in the blues, rock and soul categories. Well-written songs with catchy hooks make this album a true winner. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Gotten Gains” end up in my year list. This is one hell of a record!