A Beginner’s Guide to… Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Sophie Jordan introduces us to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Photo: Wikimedia

Grace chirps a sassy “Ooh La La” and squeals like an angel. She is a Vermont blonde, whose voice proves more and more versatile as I go through her band’s four studio albums and 12 year-long history of blues rock.

I have the soundtrack album of Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Almost Alice to thank for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. If the trio’s cover of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ featured on the album stays on the safe side of innovation, venturing only as far as the addition of a bass and eerie twangs on an acoustic guitar, it is certainly more successful than Pink’s unexciting adaptation for the film’s sequel.

Grace and her two current Nocturnals, Matt Burr and Benny Yurco, play the occasional alt-rock song like the live version of the originally bluesy ‘Nothing but the Water’. In this soulful festival tune livelier than the average Americana, the full power of the vocals rolls over the music’s simple composition while Grace skips barefoot from end to end of the stage.

This voice becomes the voice of a classic diva for the contemplative ‘Colors’ or the teasing modern blues of ‘Paris (Ooh La La)’, both taken from the band’s 2010 album. Alone in solo debut Midnight, however, Grace Potter falls into the trap of overly-synthesised, repetitive tunes with no more impact than a weak Lorde superimposed on a noughties dance soundtrack.

Grace is better off with her Nocturnals’ swinging bass and folk undertones, and chances are you’ll want to kick your boots off too and skip along to the easy-going indie rock.