BACK TO THE RHYTHM
Released in 2007 (Shrapnel Records)
01. Back To The Rhythm
02. Here Goes My Head Again
03. Take Me Down
04. Play On
05. Was It The Night?
06. I’m Alive
07. Still Hungry
08. Standin’ On The Edge
09. How Far Is Heaven?
11. Cold World
12. Just Yesterday
Jack Russell – vocals
Mark Kendall – guitar and background vocals
Michael Lardie – guitar, keyboards, percussion, harmonica and background vocals
Sean McNabb – bass and background vocals
Audie Desbrow – drums and percussion
Produced and engineered by Michael Lardie.
Many many years have passed, and even more tears shed, since Great White‘s last studio album in 1999. With the return of their classic line-up (or a close facsimile) Great White once again proves that they one of the premier blues based rock bands in the world. Despite the long layoff their sound hasn’t changed much, in fact they could have called Back To The Rhythm ‘Can’t Get There From Here Part II’.
Gone are the days of scorching rockers like “On Your Knees”, these days Great White concentrates on mid-tempo rock that succeeds thanks to their strong sense of melody, the powerful voice of Jack Russell and the awe-inspiring fretwork of the criminally underrated Mark Kendall.
What works so well on Back To The Rhythm are the varying tempos and styles. You have rockers like the title track, “Here Goes My Head Again”, “Still Hungry” and “Standin’ On The Edge”, the eerie “Cold World” and the Psycho City infused “Is It The Night” mixed with ballads such as “Play On” and “How Far Is Heaven”, both of which prove to me once again that Great White write some of the best heart-tugging tunes in all of rock.
You can’t help but spin this disc and wonder how much of the sorrow contained within certain lyrics are geared towards the nightclub tragedy, or perhaps that is reading more into the album then originally intended by the band. But lyrics such as “the pillars of society treat me like a rat in a drain” and “tragic times took their toll on my soul” lead you to believe that there is more going on during this disc than at first meets the eye.
It is a shame, that as history rewrites itself, Great White will primarily be remembered for the Rhode Island nightclub disaster. What they should be remembered for is being one of the most consistent and satisfying of the 80s rock bands, a group that has been able to deliver incredible music even as their sound has evolved. Back To The Rhythm proves to be another sensational Great White release, just as I expected.
Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, August 2007.