To be terribly honest I thought I'd be way out of my
comfort zone with this release, so, it is with some
surprise (and a barely suppressed "Hell Yeah!!") that I have
to report that Mr Slash has made a very fine album indeed.
If you're looking for innovation or experiment you
will not find it here but if you have an appetite
for four-square, hard-hitting, comfortingly predictable,
impeccably performed and produced MOR rock then you
will feel very much at home listening to this generous
fourteen track collection.
That Mr Slash is a fine guitarist, within the confines of
his genre is inarguable. He is in many ways the epitome
of his species (an endangered species at that!); an almost
loveable and instantly recognisable bad boy whose legions
of fans would doubtless quaff neat bourbon from his boots.
Inevitably there will be highs and lows when you pull
together such a diverse range of singers to breathe life
into your work. The credits indicate a strong degree of
collaboration between host and guests in the creative
process and at its best the album delivers more than
a few very fine musical moments.
I particularly enjoyed 'By The Sword', featuring Wolfmother's
estimable vocalist Andrew Stockdale, who comes on strong like
a latter-day Ian Gillan, especially in his stratospheric
upper-register! There is considerable light and shade evident
in Mr Slash's guitar playing both here and elsewhere on the
recording. His limber and colourful fingerwork is quite
wonderful at times.
Maroon Five's Adam Levine has his moment in the sun on 'Gotten'
and manages not to disintegrate in the face of our hero's
blistering power-chords in the central section. A curiously
successful confection given this somewhat unlikely pairing.
Fergie is clearly enjoying herself enormously on 'Beautiful
Dangerous', bumping and grinding as though her very life
depended on it! Slinky, sensual and as credible a manifestation
of 'rock-chick' schtick as we are likely to encounter again this
side of Christmas! She has a very fine pair of lungs indeed!
Hearing Lemmy Kilminster's dulcet English tones on 'Doctor Alibi'
is an absolute hoot! He brings a little much needed dose of
deliciously devilry into the proceedings. Two Lords of Darkness
raising a bit of good-natured fire and brimstone together!
'Watch This', an instumental, unites Dave Grohl on drums and old
mate Duff McKagen on bass for what is perhaps the album's true
high-point. Those big, big chords and beautifully fluid fretboard
runs hang in the air like a clarion call to battle. Cracking stuff!
Look, there's so much to enjoy here I really don't want to
limit the opportunities that a leap of faith of your own might
engender but don't take my words as gospel - take a deep breath
and jump right in. By any standard known to man this is good music!