Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Release: 14 February 2020
Robin McAuley- Lead Vocals and Background Vocals
Reb Beach- Guitars and Background Vocals
Jeff Pilson- Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Keys and Background Vocals
Matt Starr- Drums and Percussion
Shake The World
Johnny Came Marching
Make It There
She’s On To Us
The Rock That Rolled Away
Long Road To Nowhere
Unless We Change
Does the world need yet another Super Group? I ask myself this every time I see one announced; about to drop a new album. What even connotes as a Super Group? Just tossing some people from random bands isn’t necessarily going to be that “super.” How about some heavyweight names from some big groups from “back in the day?” It seems a little more legit, but still, just because you add people together who have made excellent music in other bands, does it automatically equal good music in Super Group form? Nope. I’ve seen many crash and burn over the years. Few, even, have stood the test of time. Frankly there are only two that instantly jump into mind that was indeed Super Groups, released some killer music, and are still relevant after the passage of time. One still exists (Revolution Saints) and one has been disbanded a long time (Damn Yankees.) Both bands, in my estimation, released some amazing material that justified the Super Group moniker. There’s a new one that has the potential to perhaps join them in the pantheon of actual Super Groups and they’re called Black Swan with their debut Shake the World.
For me, any time a vocalist of the caliber of Robin McAuley is releasing material, I’m down for that. He’s been a favorite of mine since his McAuley Schenker days and is one of the few singers from that era that is still able to hold a candle to his younger self. Add to the mix Reb Beach, a guitarist whose skills are beyond mention and has written some incredible material with both Winger and Whitesnake, plus Jeff Pilson of Dokken and Foreigner who has laid some bass, backing vocals, and penned some killer material as well. Not to take away from drummer Matt Starr, but his name doesn’t have the same draw as the aforementioned gentlemen, but his skills more than make him worthy to provide the backbeat of this band as he is one of the best rock drummers in the business. I reiterate, just because musicians are great in the bands they’re known for, doesn’t mean they will necessarily work well with others or be able to write killer songs. Luckily for Black Swan, there are three top tier songwriters in the band, which gives them a certain advantage. Instead of sounding like any of their bands, Black Swan with Shake the World is a new animal unto itself. Yes, there are moments within the songs where you might hear a slight twinge of Winger, Dokken, or MSG, but they’re just twinges. Honestly, the songs belie the fact that this is a project, sounding more like an actual band. Songs like “Make It There,” “Big Disaster,” “Unless We Change,” and “Sacred Place” are examples of great melodic Hard Rock one would expect from each member individually, strengthened by the union.
Only time will tell if Black Swan will rise to the greatness of the best of the best of Super Groups. They’re off to a fantastic start with Shake the World. This is a top-notch album all four members should be proud of. Fans will revel in the high energy, hard-hitting, melodic brilliance of this group and album. I know it is asking a lot to invest your time and energy into a project that may or may not record again, but this is an outstanding album that I think people should give a listen to.
Written by: Chris Martin