And today we bring you some genuine Bank Holiday belters with an in-form Michael Monroe leading the way.
There’s a pair of Frontiers releases courtesy of legendary Aussies Little River Band and new AOR project Find Me.
New rock supergroup The Rides (pictured) aim to prove that there’s no substitute for experience. And we review and rate new music from Bombus and Disappears.
Every Sunday we reveal the RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK. And we round up the very BEST OF THE REST.
RUSHONROCK RECORD OF THE WEEK
Genre: Rock N Roll
How to follow the magnificent Sensory Overdrive? The next Michael Monroe album was never going to eclipse one of the highlights of the Hanoi Rocks’ singer’s long and celebrated career but Horns And Halos offers more of the same sleazy, punky, bar room rock n roll. And it’s another cracking effort from a singer/songwriter reborn.
The rapid one-two of openers TNT Diet and Ballad Of The Lower East Side picks up the baton from Sensory Overdrive before the groove-laden classic rock of Eighteen Angels – replete with understated horns and a harmonica solo – offers a different shade to a diverse and compelling record.
Monroe might be missing the talented/toxic Ginger Wildheart this time around and Horns And Halos lacks some of its predecessor’s raw edge and vicious bite as a result. But it’s still an album to soundtrack late summer with the punked-up Saturday Night Special an example of the feisty Finnish frontman doing what he does best. Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Horns Aloft
BEST OF THE REST
Genre: Classic Rock
It’s difficult to imagine how a team consisting of Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg could possibly fail. No obvious weak link, a sackful of proven talent and a chemistry born out of a mutual appreciation for 50s/60s-inspired rock and soul…on paper it was always a winning combination and after a week in the studio any nagging doubts were quashed.
Mixing original material, a clutch of hand-picked covers and the previously unreleased Stills tune Can’t Get Enough, this classy album, recorded ‘as-live’, is a blues cruise into the past with the promise of a retro-fuelled future.
Opener Mississippi Road House is a growling grower and announces the trio as a seriously effective songwriting team. A further three originals emphasise the point: this is no supergroup content to trade on past glories and roll out lazy reinterpretations – The Rides’ debut is the sound of a journey that looks set to roll on.
Shepherd and Stills deliver a masterclass in instinctive fretwork and fans of both will revel in an intuitive and inspiring record. Don’t Want Lies is a dreamy triumph and set closer Word Game is wondrous. If only the team had come together a decade earlier… SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Never Enough
Genre: Soft Rock
With album sales in excess of 25 million and a staggering 13 US Top 40 hits under their belts it remains a mystery why Little River Band remain under the radar where so many British rock fans are concerned.
The band’s 1979 US platinum record First Under The Wire is one of soft rock’s most pivotal releases and Cuts Like A Diamond sparkles with a similar sheen. The Lost And The Lonely is typical Little River Band – the album’s opening track a lesson in radio-friendly rock with its understated riff, layered vocals and heartfelt message ticking all of the right boxes.
At the last count the Aussies had racked up 28 former members but that revolving door of talent has barely diminished the band’s classic late 70s pop rock sound. Bass player-turned lead vocalist Wayne Nelson has matured into a singer capable of leading Little River Band for years to come – whether that happens remains to be seen.
But if Cuts Like A Diamond (the title track is one of the album’s best) does prove to be a studio swansong then it’s a record worthy of this great band’s powerful canon. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Little Wonder
Genre: Melodic Rock
Frontiers Records love nothing more than pooling the world’s greatest melodic rock resources to create album after album of polished AOR pomp. There may be a soulless, overtly commercial feel to many of their ‘supergroup’ projects, with little chance of seeing these ‘bands’ live, but Wings Of Love is a worthy addition to the Italian label’s stable.
Throwing together AOR overlord Daniel Flores and Robbie LaBlanc (Blanc Faces) suddenly seems like the most obvious of alliances and Find Me have created a fine record that frequently benefits from the former’s well-placed keys. Lyrically it’s not the strongest but Wings Of Love sticks rigidly to the golden rule of melodic rock: mix uplifting choruses with slick licks and wrap up in the perfect pop rock packaging.
The soaring solo on Another World is ridiculously over the top and LaBlanc’s generic posturing might prove too much for those averse to ‘plastic rock’. However, Wings Of Love is guaranteed to find a place in the heart of ardent AOR lovers everywhere – a pin-sharp production and feelgood vibe more than compensating for the odd dispassionate diversion. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Find This
Genre: Heavy Metal
Sweden’s quest for utter domination of the rock and metal scene shows no sign of abating with big-riffing Gothenburg newbies Bombus adding their own brutal power to an increasingly fearsome armoury spanning the genres.
There’s a touch of Motorhead-meets Anthrax to the the title track and this committed quartet show no shame in wearing their metal influences loud and proud. Founder members Feffe and Matte enjoy a series of playful guitar jousts while bass player Jonas appears to have slotted in seamlessly following last year’s surprise appointment.
Make no mistake, The Poet And The Parrot is a significant step up from Bombus’ 2010 self-titled debut but there are still plenty of rough edges in need of a polish before the big leagues come beckoning.
Liars offers evidence of just how important this band can be and set closer Into The Fire could give Machine Head a run for their money. Bombus are good. But they could be so much better. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Parrot Fashion
Genre: Post Punk/Alt Rock
Over the last five years Chicago-based, post punk quartet Disappears have been on a non-stop mission to find the sound that will define them. In this time they have released a steady run of singles, EPs, and three full-length albums but up until now they have been unable to truly nail that perfect sound.
This seven-track album sums up the old ‘quality over quantity’ cliché, as the band produce one of the most beautifully balanced and chillingly intense albums ever made. Part of the album’s intensity is driven by the band’s experimentation with repetition – a tool that if used well can be incredibly effective but one small mistake can be disastrous.
From start to finish this is an album that you will not be able to turn off or ignore. Nor is it an album designed for background music: Era deserves your full attention as it is quite possibly the best post-punk album of 2013. Adam Keys
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Era Defining