Album Reviews

Snakecharmer – Snakecharmer Review

snakecharmer_snakecharmer cover

Released By: Frontiers Records

Release Date:  NA: January 21st 2013

EU: January 25th 2013

Genre: AOR/Hard Rock

Links: http://www.snakecharmer.org/

 

Line Up:

Micky Moody – guitar, slide guitar, vocals

Neil Murray – bass

Laurie Wisefield – guitar, vocals

Harry James – drums, vocals

Adam Wakeman – keyboards, vocals

Chris Ousey – lead vocals

 

Tracklist:

1. My Angel

2. Accident Prone

3. To The Rescue

4. Falling Leaves

5. A Little Rock & Roll

6. Turn Of The Screw

7. Smoking Gun

8. Stand Up

9. Guilty As Charged

10. Nothing To Lose

11. Cover Me In You

12. White Boy Blues (European Bonus Track)

 

It’s not every day that you see a supergroup emerge out of AORland where you can literally smell the pedigree: there’s Micky Moody and Neil Murray from WHITESNAKE (and who formed SNAKECHARMER back in 2011 as something of a tribute group), the talented and increasingly prominent Adam Wakeman, Laurie Wisefield from the legendary WISHBONE ASH, and the mighty yet somewhat unconventional choice of frontman Chris Oussey of HEARTLAND fame. With that much talent rollicking together, it’s surprising that they managed to cohesively put together something as old school as this self-titled effort. What’s even more surprising, however, is how down to earth it feels…which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you see it.

SNAKECHARMER seeks to recreate the subtly metalized early days of everybody’ s favorite bluesy radio rock institutions, whether it’s the original WHITESNAKE themselves or BAD COMPANY or even late 70’s FOREIGNER. That means blues based slow burning rockers and balladry are what you are mostly in store here for, with the occasional midtempo number to liven things up. Soulful, highway burning sonic petrol that’s designed to carry you deep into the night, but definitely not what you’d expect from these guys considering the stuff they’ve all be involved in before.

Personally, I was a tad underwhelmed by this serpentine debut, and I’m probably not the only one who feels the same.  The positive: Oussey isn’t the vocal powerhouse he used to be, but he brings some much needed grit to the excellent opening ‘My Angel’ and the almost bubbly ‘To The Rescue’. The negative? Too much of this material is bland, samey and rigidly uniform craft-wise to really justify an entire LP’s worth of music. Sure the guitar solos are nice when they pop up and the grooves are pleasant, but this album is simply way too pedestrian sounding for a bunch of guys who’ve shattered musical concrete in previous bands and projects. We didn’t need a rollercoaster here, but back in the day, WHITESNAKE knew when turn up the tempo and the volume and when to mellow out. There’s no such balance here, and the songwriting comes off as a tad half-assed as a result.

Considering how much the bar has been raised over the last couple of years on the bluesier side of AOR with bands like the Glenn Hughes’ led BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION blasting down venues and some of the more recent studio by groups like TEN….I have high expectations for anyone trying to one-up classic records like Slip Of The Tongue (WHITENSNAKE) or Double Vision (FOREIGNER).  Don’t get blinded by the quality of the musicians involved: this debut isn’t bad by any means, but it won’t be charming you away from those vintage mainstays any time soon. I’m not usually one to pull a hissy fit…but I expect more out of guys on their level, and so should you.

 

Written by Derek

Ratings    Derek    6/10


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