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HARD STUFF Reissues Angel Air (2011)

Hard Stuff

More than a mere rock journeyman, late (2011) guitarist John Du Cann connected fiery fretwork to balanced, considered composition and perfect stage poise to fine effect in a career that took in high points in Atomic Rooster and should-have-beens in this power trio forged with Rooster drummer Paul Hammond and ex-Quatermass bassist Johnny Gustafason in 1971 with its eponymous debut for Deep Purple's Purple label.

Bulletproof is high-octane, hard rock shot through with self-confidence and ambition. At almost every level, it's a very fine set, helped by the fact the band had a run through this material in a previous incarnation as Bullet.

Torpedoed by a litigious US act of the same, they went back in a recorded it again: the result stands up as one of the most neglected of its day. 'No Witch At All', 'Millionaire' and Bullet's 'Hobo' (dropped in for good measure) are sheer adrenalin-rushes each and every one. This is not music to be driven to. Further welcome bonuses include the single version of album opener 'Jay Time' and B-side 'The Orchestrator'. ****

1973's Bolex Dementia is a souffle in comparison, strutting yet flimsy and swiftly toppled by a paucity of material to match its predecessor, what there is bogged down by an absence of Du Cann guitar magic and mastery and a musical aesthetic more Glitterband than Groundhogs. ** Any doubts as to 'Bulletproof' still? Download 'Time Gambler' - you'll be buying the album.

Review by Peter Muir

Peter presents 'Progressive Fusion' on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 19:00 GMT


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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