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LABEL: VICTOR JAPAN VICP-60628 / SONY USA
Produced by: Jack Blades, *Jack Blades & Don Dokken
So here we are with a new Great White album and the first that will be released through Sony in North America.|
What ingredients make up your typical GW album?
Well, strong blues roots behind all the tunes, a few hard rockers, some mid paced songs and a couple of typically smooth ballads and acoustic numbers.
And lots of talk about girls! Well it's all getting served up again for you on this new album. New ideas have never been a strong suit of Great White and that is why we all love them.
However, under the guidance of their new producer - the ever talented Jack Blades of Night Ranger / Damn Yankees - the band have managed to serve up everything we would normally expect and want with a healthy dose of new sounds.
Funnily enough, even though these are new sounds for Great white, followers of Jack Blades and his work will be more familiar with them.
While keeping the best of the band intact, Jack has had some considerable influence over the sound of this album, bring some new tricks to this old dog, as he also co-writes and provides backing vocals - returning the favor vocalist Jack Russell did on the last Night Ranger album - an album itself that sounded increasingly influenced by Blades.
Jack Blades' individual musical personality, which became more prominent and pronounced on Shaw/Blades and the last two Night Ranger albums, further takes shape on this album. Just listen to tracks like Silent Night or Saint Lorraine, which is very close to the groovy Mother Mayhem on Night
Ranger's own Seven opus, or even Slap Like Being Born from Neverland.
It's not a big album for guitar soloing and wild instrumental sections. It's more restrained, more orchestrated and I guess more produced than before. That isn't to say there ain't plenty of Mark Kendal and Michael Lardie's monster guitar work here though. There's plenty!|
Kicking off the new album is the straight ahead good fun rocker Rollin' Stoned. This is typical Great White, although it does herald in the new better produced and fuller sounding GW. The song actually sounds a little like Australia's own Angels, a band the guys have been friends with and covered on a couple of occasions.
Next up track Ain't No Shame slows things down with a slow to mid-paced more stripped back acoustic number. It was co-written by the band with Blades and Don Dokken.
Unusually, Silent Night slows things down even more. No big problem though, because this is a classy slow to mid paced acoustic driven ballad.
It's great to hear Saint Lorraine picking up the pace again. This is a typical GW rocker. While still not a raging hard rocker, there is still plenty there for the old Great White fans.
The first surprise of the album is the acoustic ballad In The Tradition.
This song is just class all over. An awesome acoustic pop ballad that has Jack Blades all over it. Funny that, cause he wrote it with Gary Burr. This is the only song written outside the band. This also sounds a little like the NR ballad When I Call On You or anything off the Shaw/Blades album.
Lyrically it is a great listen and Jack Russel's vocals are as smooth as. This should be a radio hit and will surely be seen on another Blades project in the future.
Freedom Song continues the laid back section of the album. More acoustic driven, blues rock. Gone To The Dogs turns things in a 180 degree angle. A fast, furious hard rocker, this track will be a favourite of the old hard rock fans and again written with Don Dokken.
Wooden Jesus is a mid paced rock song, the third to be co-written with Dokken. A solid mid tempo rocker with a blues feel and some pretty cool vocals. Sister Mary is another soft acoustic ballad. You know the type that Great White are infamous for.
Loveless Age continues the mid paced blues feel. Another good track, but at this point a rocker would probably have been better.
Psychedelic Hurricane isn't that track either. This is a modern sounding mid paced rock track that starts slow and gains a little pace as it goes. A more prominent guitar and drum track.
Well that rock track never comes, as the US and International versions of the album end with Hey Mister - another acoustic driven pop rocker.
The Good Die Young is a Japanese bonus track. Easy to see why, as it is totally out of character with the rest of the album. It's also a cover of the old Dokken number. Co-produced and helped out on by Don Dokken, this is a worthy addition to the album and is almost worth upgrading to this import for.
A fairly standard version of the song, but cool nevertheless.
Overall the new Great White album is mellower than I expected and could have used a couple of extra typical GW rockers, but nevertheless it is a great collection of songs that are well produced and as expected really well played.
Blades has done a magnificent job.
|PRODUCTION: 90%||SONGS: 85%||VIBE: 81%||ATTITUDE: 81%||ESSENTIAL FOR: All Great White fans, some Night Ranger and Dokken fans. Jack Blades fans.|
DISCOGRAPHY: Great White . Shot In The Dark . Once Bitten Twice Shy . Hooked . Psycho City . Stage . Sail Away . Let It Rock . Great Zeppellin . You Can't Get There From Here; Jack Russell solo - Shelter Me