Since 2005, Grace Potter, along with the Nocturnals, has flexed some folk muscle and also shined on mainstream pop radio. On the band’s latest, The Lion The Beast The Beat, they’re even more alive and amplified, which is refreshing coming off the mediocre self-titled record from 2010.
Potter’s signature snarl is at its best here. Although pop melodies flourish on every Nocturnals disc, this time around they’re accompanied by booming drums, slick riffs, and tons of attitude. On the title track, Potter sings: “Life is a record, playing on repeat. I’m running wild with the lion, the beast, the beat.” That she is.
The energy continues throughout, despite a few sleepy ballads. “Turntable” is full of hip riffs, handclaps, and the catchiest hook in the world. Staccato keys take center stage in “Timekeeper” as Potter croons about time steadily ticking by.
Admirably, Grace Potter is mostly consistent, with soulful vocals and heart on her sleeve. Her imagery is especially noteworthy; vivid and packed with emotion (she floats back to earth with her “Parachute Heart” after losing a love). It’s real: gentle, yet poignant. Don’t underestimate her, though. There’s a feisty lioness underneath that cutesy exterior. And she’s ready to pounce.