Black Country Communion
BCC IV (Mascot records)
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