But first we need to talk about Sofia Ström who handles the lead guitar in MaidaVale. God damn it! She really rips on this record. That warm Fender Stratocaster sound is like molten led calling to the spirits of Hendrix and all the other gods of the six strings. The riffs are monolithic and the solos soar in the sky above us. Holy Iommi!
But MaidaVale is also a deadly rhythm machine courtesy of Johanna Hansson and Linn Johannesson who keep the heart throbbing and blood pumping in a groovy and hard hitting way and lays the sonic concrete foundation to Ströms guitar and vocalist Matilda Roths fantastic voice who has almost no limits in range.
It's hard to pick favorite tracks off “Tales of the Wicked West” because the composition of the album as a whole is so great. Every track intertwines with each other and the album is a unit. Just listen to how “Restless Wanderer” with it's laid back muddy blues is followed by the monster riff of “Standby Swing” in a way that you never want to listen to anything else again. Tracks like “Dirty War”, “(If you Want Smoke) Be the Fire” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” are bound to be worshiped and adored by us all forever and ever. And the magnificent closing eleven minute instrumental psychedelic track “Heaven and Earth” where Sofia Ströms stellar guitar work makes the distortion the only true faith to which we all will pledge allegiance sooner or later is an epic finish to an epic debut album.
Obey the riff. Obey MaidaVale.