It seems like every review is beginning with the statement of since Covid, lockdown , isolation and social distancing etc. The only part of our industry left standing is writing and recording – be it full-band recordings or stripped back solo albums or long lost but conveniently found demo recordings. Well, here’s one for you that’s most definitely stripped bare and coming from a place of reflection, and whilst recorded in LA its heart belongs in industrial North West as Rossi pens thirteen brand new songs and one deconstructed classic cover. As far as solo acoustic recordings go this one isn’t one dimensional and Rossi calls on the support from his friends to help with vocals, percussion and hell, pretty much the whole shooting match. Sometimes less is most definitely more and proof that good things can come out of bad situations.
Let’s get the cover out of the way first. ‘Jet’ by Wings is the tune and the original is a sprightly electric affair with a lot of gusto and brash rock and roll. Rossi takes it in a totally different direction with just Piano and some subtle strings for accompaniment oh and some lush backing vocals perhaps being the icing on the cake. It’s gentle and totally owned by Rossi and the nylon string solo comes from the same place the Faces got their ballads from. Very nice indeed.
Right, Back to the Album. It starts with a big old jumbo acoustic strum with Rossi turning in a very decent lead vocal on the title track and opener to be fair. The chorus is a good old sing-along and joined by some timely cello strings and bass. With a smart fuzzed electric solo. It sets the tone for what’s to come perfectly – understated but grande if that makes sense? If you thought this was going to be a cock o the walk punk rock record then you best look away now or embrace this album for what it is – I’ll give the game away right here and say this is excellent, unexpected but flipping excellent.
The arrangments sound fairly simple with a really clean and unfussy production and the songs stripped pretty bare. Although there are a lot of performers helping out on the album it’s a really uncluttered sound. The thing you notice straight away is how strong Mick’s voice is. Weathered and strained at times which only goes to make the songs more appealing. ‘Sing with Angels’ reminds me of Frankie Miller with those big chords. A theme and style that runs throughout the album. ‘Shout It Out Loud’ is a great example with the addition of a really cool Ronnie Lane like bass runs and I’m sure many will be singing along before the chorus has even finished. Uplifting and feel-good music right there.
I love the dream-like feel of ‘Some Day’ with the fade in fade out of the electric guitar. ‘Big Lights Big City’ has a great blend with the strings. I think that ‘Hang On’ has an epic feel to it and whilst it’s in line with the rest of the album in as much as there are no crashing drums and its predominantly acoustic guitar and tracked vocals with backing vocals a plenty its a really uplifting feel to it.
Having been really impressed with the album so far ‘Butterfly’ is the first to feature drums and therefore mixing the arrangments it’s a new texture and one that perhaps was needed and in doing so it has created something of a panoramic soundtrack with the added strings. It might not be my favourite song on the album but it is really impressive tune. As we near the end of the album ‘Stranded’ sounds like Steve Marriott has entered the recording.
We reach the end and the album signs off ‘My Culprit’ easily the most dramatic track on the album and the most “Rock” like song with a dramatic edge to the music it has to be said this is an extremely strong collection of tunes and an album that Mick Rossi should be super proud of. It’s not an album I was expecting but one I’m glad he’s made and love to arrangments. It’s an album I think will have longevity and will get better and better like a fine wine. Cheers.
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