Supersonic Blues Machine: West Of Flushing, South Of Frisco (Mascot Records)
Supersonic Blues Machine are built around the triumvirate of accomplished Texan Guitarist/Vocalist Lance Lopez, ace session drummer Kenny Aronoff and Italian born bassist/producer/engineer/lyricist Fabrizio Grossi who has a Rolodex full of the best and brightest in blues and rock, something is also possessed by his band mates, which means that the album is full of guests that I will elaborate on later. The album has numerous stylistic influences but everything is rooted in the spirit of the blues. The Bayou baiting Miracle Man has twanging guitar, parping mouth harp, hand claps, a gospel choir and Lopez's whiskey drenched, blues howl starting you off on this virtuosic blues journey. West Of Flushing, South Of Frisco is SBM's debut album but the talent build up over all three's careers is evident from the off. With a sound that's akin to Tedeschi Trucks Band and Royal Southern Brotherhood the base of the blues is mixed with funk, soul with I Ain't Fallin' Again, country and good ole' rock n roll on Bone Bucket Blues and Runnin' Whiskey which features The Rev. Billy Gibbons and has that fuzzy ZZ Top sound too it.
The Rev is one of the high profile guests that are on this record with Gov't Mule man Warren Haynes adding his soulful six string and vocals to Remedy, Texan guitarist Chris Duarte pops up on That's My Way, blues shredder Eric Gales rocks out on guitar fest Nightmares And Dreams, Robben Ford on the emotion filled final track Back In Town and miracle man himself Walter Trout on the prophetic old school blues of Everything's Going To Be Alright (hopefully this is the case with Trout now). The songs on this record are bristling with power, bolstered by the performance of all concerned and Grossi's sublime production. Lopez's guitar shines on their cover of Ain't No Love (In The Heart Of the City), while Grossi and Arnoff's rhythm section is thick and funky driving the groove on these 12 tracks meaning that this debut album has some truly excellent music on it, for any fan of blues based rock Supersonic Blues Machine will be a revelation as it has a basic three piece are immensely talented enough but when the guests are added this album is taken to another level again. Superb! 8/10
Wild Rose: 4 (Lions Pride Music)
In July 1981 4 was released on an unsuspecting world and with such mega-hits as Urgent with it's slinky sax, the hands in the air sing along of Juke Box Hero and the show stopping radio ballad of I've Been Waiting For A Girl Like You it became one of the biggest selling album of that year in America holding the #1 position on the Billboard chart for 10 weeks. It was the album that launched Foreigner's career as a massive musical force and has gone down along with it's follow up Agent Provocateur, as one of the best AOR records ever made. Now that is an awful lot for Greek AOR band Wild Rose to live up to on their fourth album which is also called 4, however just by looking at the logo and the cover of the album you know that you might be on to a winner with the crisp white colouring and silhouettes of beautiful women moving away from the street style, sleazier early album covers and adding a more demure side to the band.
I reviewed Wild Rose's previous album Hit 'N' Run and I said that "they are pure AOR with huge keyboard hooks, melodic guitars and strong emotional vocals" and this statement is still true now, although a lot has changed since that album as vocalist David A Saylor and guitarist Tiny Karpo have left but they have been replaced by original singer George Bitzios and his brother original guitarist John, they also have a new bassist in Panos Barkoutsos, however the main unit of Andy Rock's rhythm guitar/keys, Dirty Haris' main keys and Dimos Thomaidis' drums are still all present and correct. They are the basis of Wild Rose's radio bothering melodic rock that relies on huge choruses, rocking hooks, show stopping ballads and more layers of sweetness than Mary Berry could handle.
Key to this huge sound is Andy Rock's production work that makes everything all warm and fuzzy with the rich guitar tones, the huge swathes of keys and big chorus vocals all making an appearance bringing the mind aptly to Foreigner at their most bombastic, this is the sort of music that takes right back the time of pastel suits and lingering sunsets. Desperate Heart has luscious keyboard part that opens proceedings as you let the love in, what is immediately obvious is that George's vocals fit right in, slightly gruff but soulful in all the right places. Things rock up on Love Can Change You which has great guitar part and the breezy Summer Girl and Time After Time are cheesier than a basket full of brie. Wild Rose's 4 will probably not be as huge as Foreigner's masterpiece but it is Wild Rose's most accomplished album to date. If you love solid, honest AOR then Wild Rose's 4 will be your newest aural fixation. 8/10
Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers: Me And The Devil (Besta Records) (Review By Paul)
Badged as a rock ‘n’ roll band with a ‘spaghetti Western vibe’, Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers (TCDL) have been around since 2011. Hailing from Paris, the band consist of Clement Collot (vocals and rhythm guitar, Nagui Mehany (Lead guitar and harmonica), drummer Christophe Hogommat and Etienne Collot on bass. Me And The Devil consists 36 minutes of rockabilly tinged rock, with a plethora of influences as varied as The Stray Cats through to Beastmilk with the slightest hint of Volbeat and a large splash of country to boot. An indie tinged title track opens proceedings with some rolling guitar and drum work and Celement’s hauntingly gothic style vocals adding to the eclectic feel. The album changes style and direction in virtually every track, keeping the listener both entertained and intrigued; My Lover Of The Moon has an almost Sisters of Mercy stamp to it, well-paced tempo building to an all-out explosion as the band hit their peak. Summer Spleen rocks out with the best of them, powering along with some quite excellent old school Shadows style guitar work. It’s great stuff. Me And The Devil is a real ‘grower’ of a release, getting better on every listen. Gothic overtones merge with a deep rock ‘n’ roll flavour on The Sleepwalker whilst That Town Under The Sun screams movie score. It isn’t anything new but yet it feels fresh, original and totally enjoyable. Technically excellent, the sum of TCDL combine to provide a pretty fantastic release which oozes quality and screams fun. Well worth a listen. 8/10