Black Coun­try Com­mu­nion

BCC IV (Mas­cot records)

Guitarist - - Music -

Bona­massa and co re­light their fire This is a band that goes against the mod­ern grain. They rarely play live but have the in­nate chemistry to cap­ture stu­dio light­ning in a bot­tle. It’s true that Joe Bona­massa’s clas­sic rock band with Glenn Hughes, Ja­son Bon­ham and Derek Sherinian put their cre­ative in­stincts first, al­most to a frus­trat­ing de­gree for those who want to see that dy­namic on stage more. In that sense, they’re a vic­tim of the de­mands of Bona­massa’s con­tin­ued solo suc­cess, and the band’s con­tin­u­a­tion looked in doubt af­ter 2012’s After­glow.

But BCC no doubt ben­e­fits from its mem­bers’ ever-widen­ing cre­ative ex­pe­ri­ence. Bona­massa and for­mer Deep Pur­ple man Hughes form the ge­n­e­sis of the song­writ­ing, and the in­stinc­tive re­sults cooked up in their usual tight win­dow of record­ing time find them fo­cused on songcraft rather than any ex­tended ego flex­ing. Hughes’ taut and catchy Over My Head un­der­lines this, but even when they stretch out on Bona­massa’s ma­jes­tic Ti­tanic tale in The Last Song For My Rest­ing Place, not a mo­ment is wasted. Joe could have eas­ily held back this al­bum’s Song Of Yes­ter­day for his own solo work, and it’s tes­ta­ment to how these mu­si­cians value BCC that they el­e­vate it to a higher place – no­tably Hughes’ un­der­rated role as a har­mony vo­cal­ist.

The echoes of Zeppelin are un­de­ni­able – the groove of Sway, the be­hind-the-beat mo­men­tum of Love Re­mains re­call­ing The Wan­ton Song. The Crow even cheek­ily nods to Tom Morello’s Bulls On Pa­rade riff. Next to them – and if The Cove threat­ens to drag a lit­tle be­side them – it’s pos­i­tively lifted by the spirit of Bona­massa’s Kos­soff-force vi­brato in the solo break. The fire and pas­sion that de­fines this band is still very much in ev­i­dence here on a record that feels more fo­cused than its pre­de­ces­sor. Long may it burn. [DH] Stand­out track: The Last Song For My Rest­ing Place For fans of: Led Zeppelin, Bad Com­pany

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