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!
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