BARRY SPARKS ‘Can't Look Back’ (2004)
A solo outing by the respected bass player - he’s performed with
Firehouse, Uli Jon Roth, the Scorpions and now is a member of Dokken. First
surprise is Barry Sparks' vocals - every melodic and he reminds me at times
of Al Stewart (‘Year of the Cat’) for the breathy sound between verses.
‘Between the Sun and Moon’ is a killer song - strong chorus and driving
guitar, with some neat time changes between verse and chorus. This is easily
of the best tunes I’ve heard all year and that’s no mean feat considering
the great music that has been released so far this year.
‘Long Time Coming’ keeps the rock quota high whilst ‘A Soul For Sale’ takes the tempo down
being a gentle ballad. ‘Mexico’ veers between AOR and crunching hard rock
riffing whilst the title track is a modern rocker similar to Matchbox Twenty
or Big Head Todd & the Monsters. Only slight drawback is the sheer variety
of tunes on here but personally I prefer that sometimes on albums. A
respectful version of the George Harrison penned ‘Something’ closes the
album in style. More subdued than the original but a fitting tribute to the
late musical genius.
Surprisingly Barry Sparks doesn’t cash in too much on his musical
contacts bar guest cameos from Ted Nugent (he lets fly on the excellent
‘Liberty’) and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. Plus you get top drummer Shane
Gaalaas (Glenn Hughes) helping out as well.
The good thing with this album is that you come to it with no
preconceptions of how it should sound and Barry Sparks obviously enjoyed
making this album big time!
Review by Jason Ritchie
***** Out of this world | **** Pretty
damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly