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Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

the dead daisies

The Dead Daisies seem to have done a good job of getting their name out there in the rock firmament since their formation in 2012. With what must be good record company backing they have got themselves on tours with big name acts such as ZZ Top, Aerosmith and Black Star Riders.

Much has been made in some quarters about their pedigree and connections with members who can put ex-Guns N' Roses and ex-Motley Crue on their resume but a closer look shows that their line-up has been in flux for much of their short existence. Whether this is by design or a sign of a struggle to get a committed line up I'm not sure but by the release of this, their second album founding member and ex-INXS vocalist Jon Stevens has gone and been replaced by ex-Crue man John Corabi.

Whatever the changes that have taken place the sound on this follow up builds on the formula set out on their debut of a hugely competent blues rock sound with a big production. You could say that they are aiming squarely at the retro rock scene with bands like Black Stone Cherry and Rival Sons riding a wave of success but there is nothing here which doesn't fit in musically with what the members have done previously in their careers.

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When they are good, they're very good such as on the gritty grooves of album opener 'Mexico' or the Doobies Brothers overtones of toe-tapping blues rocker 'Looking For The One'. For me they are less successful when they decide to get funky on 'With You And I' and 'Get Up, Get Ready' despite the latter featuring some outstandling fiery guitar lines and some lovely keyboard playing from ex Guns N' Roses man Dizzy Reed.

It might not be a great sign that one of the stand out tracks here is 'Empty Heart'. This features a duet between John Corabi and Aussie legend Jimmy Barnes (presumably coming about as the band have supported Barnes in Australia and New Zealand) and is a raw, full throated piece of radio friendly blues rock. It's a real quality song co-written by Barnes himself and I'm actually surprised he didn't keep it for himself.

The band show some of their influences by covering the great Alex Harvey's 'Midnight Moses' and it's a great song played with passion although I don't think they have added anything to the original. However I'm sure it'll impress in a live setting and it's good to see such a good tune getting out to what will be a new audience for the most part.

Overall this is a good album with much to commend it. It sounds great, the singing and playing is of a very, very high quality and some of the songs are very strong too. It still feels like this is a band searching for its own personality though and aren't quite there yet. Maybe if the line up can stay more settled for a little while then a true band vibe can really start to develop.

Line up:
David Lowy – rhythm guitar
Richard Fortus – lead guitar
Dizzy Reed – keyboards
Marco Mendoza – bass
John Corabi – lead vocals
Brian Tichy – drums




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