Brittany Howard - 'Jaime'

9/10

As the frontwoman of Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard is no stranger to the true roots of the southern American sound. With two heavily-praised studio albums under their belt, the band are considered one of the most original and organic voices to emerge from the Bible belt in a decade. But with the band taking an extended break, having now been four years since their last record, her and her partner took a road trip across the United States, and it was this journey that inspired 'Jaime', an album that looks to showcase both the best and worst about the country that she loves so much.

Dripping in southern soul and wrapped up in Howard's beautifully tortured voice, 'Jaime' has everything we have come to love about her formative outfit, but still feels very much like a personal project. Whether it be the gospel-inspired stomper that is 'Georgia' or its soul-infused opener 'History Repeats', this new collection is very much a mishmash of multiple inspirations that come together to deliver a release that truly represents the woman at the heart of it. With an introspective view towards songwriter, we are hearing the words of someone conflicted within their environment, where they want to see nothing but love yet find the opposite just as quickly.

Yet despite the clearly impressive production behind each of these tracks, it is her voice that once again steals the show. 'Jaime' has this wonderfully rich aura about it, washing itself in the smooth and sensual soul of her musical forefathers yet maintaining this contemporary and explorative aesthetic that gives it a whole new angle to appreciate it from.

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