I had the job of reviewing this "supergroup's" new record for the magazine I work for. The term supergroup is something often bandied about, and more often than not it's the result of a record company pushing individuals together, and in the bulk of the cases, the actual albums never quite live up to the alliance on paper. Consider Chickenfoot the exception to the rule! Despite the fact that the foursome is comprised of Red Hot Chilli Peppers (and part time Glenn Hughes) drummer Chad Smith, ex-Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, guitar god Joe Satriani and the eternally youthful Sammy Hagar on vocals, these guys shirk the rules. They don't consider themselves a supergroup, they see themselves simply as four individuals who have a like minded goal of creating a magnificent rock album, and they financed it themselves so they weren't tied to a big label who wanted to compromise their creativity.
That's all well and good, as long as you gel as a unit, and by god, this does. The songs on offer here are truly awesome, the performances rank as possible career bests from any member you care to choose, and it's all given a larger than life production by the legendary Andy Johns, who engineered albums like Led Zeppelin II and III, `Exile On Main Street', and Blind Faith, and produced the likes of Satriani, Van Halen, Cinderella and many, many others.
The album kicks off with `Avenida Revolution', which Satriani described to me as an experiment to "see how dark Sammy would sing". It's a stunning opener which sets the bar sky high for the rest of the album, but one listen to the follow up track `Soap On A Rope' and you know that consistency is not going to be a problem.
`Sexy Little Thing' is an absolute gem with a fabulous chorus, highlighted by Anthony's backing vocals meshing beautifully with Hagar's, who delivers a tremendous performance throughout the record. `Oh Yeah', `Get It Up' and `Running Out' all rock hard and heavy and there's diversity in the form of `Learning To Fall' which slows the pace a touch, and a nod to Led Zep's `Thank You' with album closer `The Future Is In The Past'.
I can't find fault with any aspect of this album. Sammy's vocals are the best he's done in ages, Anthony plays better and sings better than he ever did with Van Halen, Satriani is a demon on guitar and Chad Smith plays like a modern day John Bonham. All this, encapsulated in such an immense production and wild vibrancy makes it sound almost like a live album - there's no fade outs, polishing, or tons of overdubs, this is just a rock record for the ages. Even the album cover is cool - place your hand on the black, and the heat changes it to images of the band! Yes, they have a weird name, but if I hear a better album this year by anybody, I'll eat my hat.
James Gaden - Fireworks Magazine