MUSIC fans may well wonder why a band like Guns N’ Roses gets inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when the lineup that made them famous hasn’t played together in roughly 20 years.
Then you hear what just one of them can do on an album like Apocalyptic Love.
Founding GNR guitarist Slash’s riffs and solos are as nimblei bl as ever, and d crackle with the energy of a musician still out to top everything he’s done before.
Slash’s second solo album kicks into high gear with Standing in the Sun, a melodic thumper full of the electric boogie that made GNR classic Paradise City such a crowd-pleaser. Halo boils over with sharp hooks and blistering lead guitar, and We Will Roam chugs along with radio-friendly riffs and an anthemic chorus.
But the highlight is Slash’s brilliant playing. The songs often seem merely a showcase for his six-string wizardry, whether it’s some acoustic intimacy or working on a deep, growling groove.
His debut solo album was filled with guests, but this time Slash sticks with a stable lineup throughout, including Winnipegger Brent Fitz on drums. Vocalist Myles Kennedy’s yowl complements Slash’s blistering leads nicely, especially on You’re a Lie, though it never quite keeps up with (or overpowers) them as Axl Rose’s once did, and it’s miles ahead of Scott Weiland’s anemic singing, which muted Slash’s pyrotechnics with Velvet Revolver.
If it’s hard to imagine Slash’s signature churning, precise guitar work without Rose’s equally distinctive voice, stop wishing for that never-gonna-happen GNR reunion and listen to what the top-hatted wonder is up to in this century. You won’t be disappointed. IT would have been the late Joey Ramone’s 61st birthday on May 19, so in honour of the punk rock legend, producers like Ed Stasium and Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh recruited some of Ramone’s friends (Joan Jett, Steven Van Zandt, the Dictators, Cheap Trick) to flesh out demos the Ramones vocalist left unfinished before his 2001 death from lymphoma.
The results are a decent, if uneven, collection highlighted by the Beat on the Brat-melody stealing What Did I Do To Deserve You?; the ’60s rocker I Couldn’t Sleep; the ballad Party Line (turned into a malefemale duet with Holly Beth Vincent); and an acoustic reworking of Life’s a Gas, originally released on the Ramones final album, Adios Amigos, but given a whole new meaning when he sings, “So don’t be sad because I’ll be there/don’t be sad at all.”
Some of the mid-tempo tracks ( Rock ‘N Roll is the Answer, New York City) cruise along aimlessly without much going for them with the exception that we get to hear Joey’s voice again, a voice sorely missed. WE are getting closer to summer holiday time and with hours to kill it means that you may want to step inside your way back machine and set the thing to the 1980s. You will need a soundtrack for your journey and since you have equipped your unit with all the necessary electronic gadgetry you can slip the new Men Without Hats album into your player to help sonically guide you back to the age of New Wave Canuck pop.
Yes folks it’s Ivan and Colin Doroschuk with some hired hands, acting like no time has passed since their last album 10 years ago. Love In The Age Of War, their seventh full-length, is a pointless, yet listenable set that proves everything (at least, it seems, in pop music) old is new again and vice versa. There isn’t much to recommend here except the band’s ability to completely shut down time and play mid-tempo electronic dance music that is as sardonic as the day is long.
If you bopped in harem pants to tracks like Safety Dance and Pop Goes The World then these 11 tracks will deliver you rapidly to your past, with love. ½ IT seems like the latest wave of country singers have all been influenced by none other than Bruce Springsteen, whether it be outlaw offspring like Shooter Jennings, wannabe outlaw Eric Church or gravel-throated newcomer Kip Moore. In fact, the opening line of the haunting and melodic Hey Pretty Girl is likely to have you singing the lyrics to I’m On Fire instead.
Aside from the all too obvious influence, Moore delivers a convincing, country rockin’ album of summer soundtrack fare like his current No. 1 single Somethin’ ’Bout a Truck celebrating beer, girls in red sundresses and trucks, of course. Moore displays a bit of diversity getting bluesy on Fly Again and spiritual on Faith When I Fall.
Moore’s own pen ink is sprayed across all 11 tracks on this impressive and promising debut. Just wait until this Georgia native discovers who he really is. ½ FOR her first U.S. studio album in 15 years, British singer Claire Martin performs 13 love songs from the Great American Songbook with, fittingly, a band of great American jazz musicians led by pianist Kenny Barron. It was well worth the wait. Martin performs a mix of duets with Barron, such as Embraceable You, and ensemble pieces with the superb team of Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums, and Steve Wilson on saxophone and flute.
Martin and Barron are so in sync they sound as if they have been performing together for years — check their version of How Long Has This Been Going On? for proof.
Using the Washingtons — two-thirds of the great Bill Charlap piano trio — was a brilliant stroke; they are so supportive to both singer and pianist. Listen to Wilson’s alto sax on Lazy Afternoon.
Martin is a great, expressive singer who makes these standards shine, and who deserves the greater North American exposure this disc should give her.