It’s another crazy week for new rock with mega-selling US arena fillers Creed (pictured) leading the charge. There’s southern grungesters Kingskin kicking up a storm on their Steve Albini-produced second album and some classic live Cinderella for those who love their hair metal with extensions.
Melodic rock enjoys a vintage week with Mastedon and Blanc Faces both delivering some brilliantly retro 80s fare. And this week they’re up against wannabe Brit rockers Dead Confederate and those pretty boys from Elliott Minor. And don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about Slayer or the Quireboys – the former’s latest arrived in vinyl format this weekend and we’re celebrating the re-release of the latter’s A Bit Of What You Fancy with an exclusive interview and giveaway later this week. Enjoy!
Creed – Full Circle (EMI)
Five tracks into the comeback album from multi-million selling arena staples Creed and it’s clear that the blueprint for commercial success hasn’t been discarded during the Alter Bridge years.
Rain has the potential to be a chart busting single as big as anything this band has mustered before and it confirms that there is still a place for the post-Grunge rockers in 2009.
On My Sleeve is the most powerful and urgent piece of music you’ll hear this month and titanic title track Full Circle is almost Black Stone Cherry-like in its laid back vibe. But both tracks feature low down the pecking order and the danger is that old fans and new will switch off long before the best songs emerge.
Some good songs, some great moments and some shoddy planning. Creed should know better.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 Incomplete Circle
Cinderella – Live At The Mohegan Sun (Frontiers Records)
Cinderella are set to return to the live stage in a big way in 2010 and this timely reminder of their hair metal credentials suggests fans old and new could be in for a nostalgia-fuelled treat.
While it would be nice to think an all-new record is in the pipeline, when you have a bulging back catalogue of soft rock classics the question of how to eclipse the past must be a vexing one. Can you improve on Night Songs, Heartbreak Station or Gypsy Road? On this evidence doing so will be a major achievement.
If the variable mix relies heavily on the reaction of a raucous audience – often to the detriment of Tom Keifer and his colleagues – at least we know this is the real deal. It’s a benchmark to judge Cinderella against when they do return to the UK next year and matching this will make a lot of fans very happy indeed.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Cinders Rise
Mastedon with John Elefante – 3 (Frontiers Records)
Not to be confused with metal monsters Mastodon, and after the first 20 seconds you won’t be, this is a melodic rock masterpiece rooted in the past but oozing originality.
Think Journey and Toto but don’t be fooled by first impressions. By the time Nowhere Without Your Love kicks in you could almost be listening to radio friendly Rush or Yes.
Water Into Wine (Fassa Rokka) is blessed with a belting AC/DC-esque riff and You Can’t Take Anything seamlessly reverts to the slick 80s pop rock evident on the album’s opening two tracks.
At times this cracking record sounds like a ‘best of’ compilation pulling together the obvious highlights from three decades of impeccably produced AOR. As such it’s essential for any rushonrock reader.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Maste-ful
Kingskin – Slug (Sounds Of Caligula)
In the year Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains have proved there’s still a substantial appetite for grunge, and Fu Manchu have served up another slice of Stoner perfection, Slug combines both genres with a pinch of funk and a portion of punk for good measure. And it works.
What will intrigue anyone who hears this sparkling UK release is that its roots are in Dover. More in common with America’s West Coast than Britain’s south coast, the music could be construed as contrived. We’d rather give these boys the benefit of the doubt.
Steve Albini’s fuzzy production gives standout tunes like The One Everyone Hates and the early-era Chili Peppers-esque Fat Mama Got Soul a certain credibility and this rousing record fast becomes a guilty pleasure wherever your rock roots. Throw back a few beers, nibble on a nacho and treat yourself to a delicious smorgasbord of retro rock.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Kingpins
Elliott Minor – Solaris (Repossession Records)
Remember Busted? These boys are the natural heirs to Charlie S and his bubblegum rock buddies with their singalong anthems and sugar sweet image. Think Savage Garden turned up to 11 or Madina Lake given a British makeover – Elliott Minor will never be metal but they might just shine.
Electric High is an addictively tuneful affair while title track Solaris hints at an otherwise difficult to identify depth to the band’s songwriting.
On reflection Elliott Minor possess the potential to become world beaters but finding their market is the trick. The safety first approach to Solaris will curry favour with music’s increasingly conservative tastemakers but rock fans demand something just a little more dangerous.
Europe for the next generation?
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Minor Triumph
Blanc Faces – Falling From The Moon (Frontiers Records)
In the absence of a new Bad English record anytime soon this pop rock gem might just hit the mark. Slick vocals, catchy choruses and a smattering of quality keys make Falling From The Moon the melodic connoisseur’s album of choice this week.
While there are some scary moments – at one point Blanc Faces morph into the Small Faces with added Rod Stewart (and you can even hear Starship and Roxette in there somewhere) – this is a tidily produced Frontiers tour de force.
Fans of John Waite and Richard Marx will find much to admire in a confident collection of retro class with tunes like I Come Alive and Everytime straight from the late 80s songbook. Excellent stuff.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 Blanc. Check.
Dead Confederate – Wrecking Ball (Kartel)
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia and yet sounding like just about every great British guitar band of the last 40 years it’s often difficult to take Dead Confederate too seriously. Their frequent likeness to everyone from Oasis to Kasabian and The Verve to Led Zeppelin suggests these boys yearn to play sweaty clubs in the Midlands and yet on the strength of this fine debut arena supports on Kings Of Leon bills surely beckon.
It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense that you’re listening to a Gallacher brothers’ tribute act after the opening two tracks but by the time It Was A Rose gets going it’s like Thom Yorke has taken up residence. A relatively bland mid-section is spectacularly left behind as the Zeppelin-esque epic The News Underneath makes a play for track of the year and it’s from here on in that the psyche rock takes over from the stadium rock.
All in all an intriguing juxtaposition of musical styles which have you clamouring for more and enjoying a series of repeat visits. A grower which could grow. And grow.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Dead Good