Released by 52 Music
Release Date: Out Now
Genre: Hard Rock / Classic Rock
Links: Toseland on Facebook
1. Life Is Beautiful
2. Gotta Be a Better Way
3. Singer in a Band
4. Crash Landing
5. Just No Way
6. Comin’ to Get Ya
7. Good Eye Blind
9. Burning the System
Looking not unlike Danny Zuko complete with the T on the back of his black leather jacket, you could be forgiven for assuming that James Toseland’s debut album will veer towards 60’s rock and roll rather than the catchy hard rock we are presented with here.
Now typically, career crossovers are prone to disaster and more often than not do not work. Madonna and her movie career immediately springs to mind as a prime example. Many other actors, sporting heroes and even celebrity chefs have tried their hand at a musical career change and can now be found in the local supermarket bargain bins at Christmas. One exception to the rule appears to be James Toseland. As a former motorcycle racer, Toseland was the 2004 and 2007 World Superbike Champion. As such you would assume a career path was settled upon. Clearly not!
As a result of various recommendations, collaboration with Little Angels legend Toby Jepson enabled the pair to write Toseland’s debut album which is a full on hard rock effort. Another pledgemusic campaign later and the final product now finds its’ way onto the shelves. Vocally Toseland sounds very similar in style to Myles Kennedy and given the surge in popularity for Slash’s solo work, the song styles on the harder tracks certainly have a complimentary feel to them whilst retaining their own identity.
Echoing his own ambitions, where everybody wants to be a ‘Singer in a Band’, it’s one of the early tracks sticks out with its’ crunchy riffs and snarly vocals. Not surprisingly the expertise of Toby Jepson brings crisp production to the music and on follow up track ‘Crash Landing’ Jepson’s weapon of choice at the moment, the acoustic guitar, can be heard adding a little bit of depth and variation to the mix. With Toseland’s racing pedigree it’s no surprise that we find this track on the album as it’s likely to be a homage to those hair raising moments of years gone by.
The ballad ‘Just no Way’ does date the album a little and places the track at least firmly in the early 1990s (prime Little Angels era so perhaps Tobe’s influence here?). It’s a powerful song and showcases Toseland’s piano playing but I’d rather he’d just steamed ahead with the harder edged material.
We’re back to the norm with ‘Comin’ to Get Ya’, the Myles-esque vocals, crunchy riffs and a chorus and solos you can hang your hat on. The format continues and delivers a very strong second half. ‘Kingdoms’ proves that piano can be added to the harder numbers and doesn’t need to be reserved for the ballads and ‘Burning the System’ and ‘Emergency’ add a little bit of the magic that Airbourne bring to the current scene with some solid crunchy Angus \ Joel inspired riffing.
‘Renegade’ closes an album that would be probably be selling millions by now if it had been released 20+ years ago. Thankfully the sound is modern enough to attract younger fans as well as those who still hanker for “the good old days of rock” pre 1991 and given the fan base Slash is building at the moment it’s clearly a good time for Toseland to bring his own take on rock music to the public.
Written by Adrian