|38 Special Drivetrain||CMC/Sanctuary Records|
38 Special have thrown down the challenge to fans and have come out rocking on their first studio album since 1997's Resolution. |
I'm not getting into this album as much as I thought I would, but it's still a solid rocking affair. I don't find myself being naturally drawn back to it, despite a heavy rotation in order to write this review. It's more an album to be put on when the mood takes you.
Overall, I don't think the songs have the passion and all the memorable 38 Special traits required to grab the listener. That's even more surprising to me, as the great Jim Peterik is involved in co-writing 7 of the album's tracks.
Much like Rick Springfield's Shock Denial Anger Acceptance album, this rocks big time with a slightly updated feel and like Rick, the guys have recorded what is probably the heaviest album of their career. But also like Rick's last album, some of the heart and soul has been left behind.
Now, that all said, Drivetrain is a raw, stripped to the bone rocker. Keep that in mind, forget about what the band should sound like, concentrate on what they do sound like and you will be far more satisfied with this album that really does rock.
Track By Track:
The opener Something I Need and the single Hurts Like Love set up the record really well and prove the band can rock along with the best of them. Two great tracks that if emulated throughout the rest of the record, would have made this a classic.
The gruff rocker Harley's Got A Harley doesn't do as much for me, I feel it is missing a great hook and a little passion.
Jam On is slightly better, this track has a chorus hook to hang on to.
Make Some Sense Of It sees the guys starting back towards their more natural sound and is another gem and one of the best tracks of the album.
Quick Fix is another tough and gruff track, and again misses a better hook. The Squeeze is much the same although, I do rather like the swagger and attitude the track exuberates.
The Play is a track that has a nice melodic lead in and a soulful lead vocal, however I still don't think the chorus does the song justice.
Bad Looks Good On You is another track I can't warm to, although it's an ok slice of rock with a southern swagger.
Trooper With An Attitude is probably the most southern styled song and rocks along more like ZZ Top than classic 38 Special. A solid guitar riff and one fans will enjoy I think.
Hiding From Yourself is probably my pick of the album – this is more along the lines of classic Don Barnes AOR and certainly closer to the 80's 38 Special than any other track here.
Sheriff's County Line is a slow moving track to start, but picks up pace as the song goes on, but without ever reaching a true peak.
While I am glad to see the guys rocking and enjoyed it for what it is, in the long run I just don't find this album as appealing as their past work. I am one that always looks forward to and presses for bands to release new albums, but in this case I have found myself wishing to indulge in a past classic.
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