Reviews roundup – Axel Rudi Pell vs. Sideburn vs. Soulmatic vs. Anna Coogan vs. Jedeye
AXEL RUDI PELL
The Ballads V
Steamhammer / SPV
Is it that time already? Seventeen studio albums, seven compilations and four live albums down the road and it’s time for number five in his Ballads series.
Yes, the hardest working man in showmetalbusiness is back with another installment in the long running set of albums which go back to 1993. Some people don’t care for compilations but I’m quite partial to them, especially when a modicum of thought goes into the tracklising.
Things kick off with three new songs, the first of which is a stunning duet featuring the magnificent Bonnie “Still Big In Germany” Tyler who alongside Johnny Gioeli rips “‘Love’s Holding On” to shreds. It’s good. He then follows it up with an Ed Sheeran cover. Yes, really, but once you’re at the end of the third new song “On The Edge Of Our Time” you can forgive Axel straying into Hobbit territory.
We then revisit four Axel gems from the past (I skipped over the revist to Neil Young), an unreleased live version of “The Line” before closing with a live cover of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated”, recorded at the 25th anniversary show in Balingen in July 2014, with Doogie White (ex-Rainbow, MSG) on vocals and former Rainbow keyboard man Tony Carey also performing. Fourteen minutes of magic to close a really enjoyable album.
It’s coming out as a Digipak CD (with poster), double purple 180 gram vinyl gatefold LP (with printed inner sleeves + CD in a cardboard sleeve), and limited (1,000) edition Boxset (containing Digipak CD, CD single, 5,000 mAh ARP branded powerbank, sticker and photo postcard).
I’m an old man and easily confused. So when I received a copy of a new album from Sideburn I geared myself up for some Swedish melodic doom. I was even more confused as it seemed they’d turned into an AC/DC influenced hard rock and roll band. Only then did I realise that this was in fact the Swiss Sideburn who I last encountered on their 2013 release ‘Electrify’.
Back then they’d got themselves two new guitarists – Lawrence Lina and Mike Riffart and a new bass player in the shape of Australian Nick Thornton. Along with long tem singer Roland Pierrehumbert and drummer Lionel Blanc they’ve stayed together and this is another delightful release.
They do like to rattle out some classic riffs which would have graced ‘Flick Of The Switch’ or ‘One Vice At A Time’ and it’s music that is right up my street. “Call Me A Doctor”, “Get You Ride On”, “Save Your Soul” and most of the others to be honest, are cracking wee rock and rollers performed with panache and passion. Throw in a tribute to Lemmy with a cover of “No Class” and I was left a very happy man.
BUY AT AMAZON
Time for some blues rock now and we’re off to Germany to catch up with the third album from Soulmatic. And it’s quite enjoyable.
They’re not into ripping up th erule book and starting afresh so a lot of the trio sound is straight down the middle blues rock. But they have some good songs and arrangements which means the likes of “Flying Away”, “Drive You Home”, Dancing In The Rain” and others stand up to repeat plays.
It sounds warm and inviting which may be down to the analogue recording overseen by Ian Remmer (who has worked with bands like Nazareth). There are a couple of songs like “Down Town” and the cover of “No Woman No Cry” that just don’t work and sound like the band are trying to escape from themselves. But those aside and this made for a good listening experience.
BUY AT AMAZON
The Lonely Cry Of Space & Time
Yeah Like Yeah Records
Oh blimey. I’m not clever enough for this. Once upon a time Anna Coogan had a thing for alt-country both solo and with the band North 19. But now she has set those childish things aside and has decided that the world needs to be saved. Now that’s probably true but it’s going to need something more than this.
Her latest release is a two hander which features Willie B on drums and Moog bass alongside Ms Coogan’s three-octave soprano vocals, electric guitar soundscapes and, oh yes, pointed social commentary. So if you’re looking for songs about Sylvia Plath (“Sylvia”), an apocalyptic ballad “Burn For You” or the pro-immigration “Wishing Well” then this is the place for you and all your Guardian reading friends.
Me, I found the words to be sixth form poetry of the lowest common liberal denominator. Ms Coogan terms this operatic rock and mentions the likes of Kate Bush, Lene Lovich and Yoko Ono. Which really tells you all you need to know. A couple of good tunes have sneaked in and “Meteor” along with “Wedding Vow” do show that there is some talent at play but this is not the place for me.
BUY AT AMAZON
To Germany now for a mini album of hard rock One which makes a fair fist of mixing up classic rock, modern mainstream rock and even a wee bit of punky fuzz.
They’ve been around since 2013 and Gregor Andreska, Kevin Bruns, Theresa Wust, Sebastian Liberka and James Magio certainly know how to rattle out a good riff and on songs like “One Day’s Too Short (For Livin’ A Life)” and the potty mouthed “Hey, Motherfucker” they make a good case for being a band to watch out for.
There are times when they get a bit too punky for my own personal tastes but with their self proclaimed predilection for monkeys, fur coats and travelling between space and time they show an energy and enthusiasm often lacking in modern rock. They’re not quite there yet but they’re definitely on the way.