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(Road Songs/AOR Heaven)
Release Date: 23rd May 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

mother road

These guys shouldn't be confused with the quartet sharing the same name from Barrie, Ontario.

This five-piece acknowledge their roots in both Austin, Texas and Berlin in Germany. Formed back in 2011 by vocalist Keith Slack and guitarist Chris Lyne, they found their chemistry quickly and began the creative process.

What you receive when you hit the play button on 'Drive' is some bluesy Rock music soaked in the shimmering sound of an organ, and some fairly traditional arrangements with some emotion leaking through the cracks on the chorus.

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If you take away the vocals of Slack and replace them with Danny Bowes of Thunder, or perhaps even David Coverdale from the earlier Whitesnake days, they'd fit like a glove on these tracks. I'm not making a direct comparison between the sound and tone of the vocalists, just that the musical backdrop accommodates all of their styles. It would be fair to say that they have a great grasp of this sort of bluesy Rock and each nugget here reiterates the sentiment.

One or two observations worthy of sharing with you; on 'Out Of My Mind' they may get a little over-elaborate in the arrangement which takes the edge of the delivery and distracts from what is a tasty chorus. It's taken me a while to pinpoint what the vocals remind me of on the final song on 'Drive', but when you hear 'On My Way' tell me that doesn't sound a little like Paul Stanley from KISS?

Obviously, this doesn't apply to each and every syllable; but more than an echo during the mellower sections at the start and at the end. Once the song goes up a gear then it's not Mr Stanley, but more of what we're used to by this stage of the listening process in relation to the other tracks.

Highlights worthy of a mention include 'Drive Me Crazy', 'Still Rainin'' and 'These Shoes' all executed with a refined and effective presence. This album feels closer to a successful result as opposed to the 'Snakecharmer' album released in 2013.

The band made up of Thunder/Magnum drummer 'arry James and Neil Murray on bass with the mighty Micky Moody on guitar tried a sort of melodic bluesy Rock music similar to this but the songs just didn't stand up significantly enough. For my ears it was a comfortable listen showcasing the respective high-profile talents, but the music felt diluted somehow.

If you paired that album with 'Drive', then this album has the edge. Just listen to that truly beautiful organ sound at the opening of 'Dangerous Highway' and soak up the slightly meatier sound overall.

When I listen to this style of music, I find myself missing a strong song with the magic ingredient to elevate a band to more than competent and comfortable. Where are the 'Here I Go Again' or 'Feel Like Makin' Love' moments that are well and truly established classics? It isn't so much a criticism, more of a slight disappointment I guess.

Nevertheless, 'Drive' proposes a good time and presents sufficient moments to make it worthy of a few pints. Cheers!

The Sun Will Shine Again
Feather In Your Hat
Drive Me Crazy
Out Of My Mind
These Shoes
Dangerous Highway
Poor Boy (Long Way Out)
Dirty Little Secret
Blue Eyes
Still Rainin'
On My Way




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