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Quick Play: A round-up of April 2007 album releases

We've listed albums in order of star rating. Best first.

MARTIE PETERS GROUP Road To Salvation NL Distribution (2007)

Martie Peters (ex-Push) is back with a follow-up to his rather good 2005 debut album. He has worked as well with White Lion's Mike Tramp and that band is the nearest in sound to the MPG. Take a listen to 'Fallen' or the excellent catchy single 'Shallow' for proof. Fans hankering after that classic White Lion sound will be in seventh heaven on here!

Some good slow numbers with 'For What It's Worth' hitting the spot with its soaring vocals, crashing guitar and layered harmonies. The title track really takes the album out in fine style, making for a very enjoyable melodic hard rock release. Top notch production as well thanks to Tommy Hansen's involvement. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

BREED 77 Un Encuentro Albert Productions (2007)

Never a band to stick to one sound Breed 77 re-record a selection of tracks from their first three albums in their native Spanish (although the band have often mixed Spanish and English together to great effect already).

The music sticks in the main to the original versions, although they utilise harmonies and acoustic guitars more. 'Petroleo' still keeps the aggression of the original whilst 'El Rio' (The River) could be a hit for them all over again.

Easily one of the best new bands to emerge in the past five years, although if your new to the band try one of the other albums first then get this one! ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

KINGSKIN Humpin Mojo Zebra 3 Records (2007)

Winners of Kerrang!'s Best Unsigned Band Competition would normally have you expecting some pierced nu metal band who will sell a few albums and then disappear thankfully into the bargain bins. However this band cleverly have one foot in riff based rock a la Led Zep and the other foot in the 90's grunge sound of Alice In Chains or Soundgarden.

Five songs on here as a taster of their debut album due later this year. The title track and 'Bottom Dollar' really hit the mark with big guitar riffs and big choruses - not disimilar to the Answer. They try a bit of RHCP approved funk on 'Fat Mamma Got Soul' although this song misses its mark being a tad too copycat of RHCP.

Their debit album will be well worth a listen and amazingly Kerrang! seemed to have picked a winner in this band, as I would normally run a mile from their recommendations nowadays! ***½

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE EXITS The Legendary Lost Exits Album (Cherry Red/Rev Ola)

This new wave / power pop set dates from 1978 as was unreleased at the time.

The one solitary single 'The Fashion Plague' (£80 rated) is featured here, and the set is off the wall with some fine melodies and a few almost punk-like riffs too (when I say punk, I mean infinitely more intelligent than the Sex Pistols).

Sadly this album never appeared and the band reconvened as the more Mod like Direct Hits a year or two later.

A little quirky but well worth checking out. Bassist/vocalist Colin Swan provides sleevenotes and track annotation, an excellent package. ***½

Review by Joe Geesin

PUPPET SHOW The Tale Of Woe (ProgRock Records)

Puppet Show's second album has been a long wait of Boston proportions and it's a pretty enjoyable release.

It's heavy, modern, but proggy in a disjointed way; think some of Yes's off the wall moments. Some of the keyboard chords nod at Keith Emerson too.

Solos and riffs intermix well, the rhythms change and it's all weird and wonderful.

Hard work at times but worth a listen. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

ROB McCULLOCH Escaping Times (Gladrag Record Company)

Easy rock, I think best describes this, because it's too mature to be called indie or guitar pop.

Opener 'Something Abuse' amassed 10,000 downloads when Rob was still unsigned; no mean feat.

'Barbican Street' mixes acoustic and electric nicely with some decent melodies, and there's a good vocal range too.

The Doors and Paul Weller (Jam and solo) are both obvious influences, even a touch of Oasis without the attitude.

Well worth checking out. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

END OF LEVEL BOSS Inside The Difference Engine (Exile On Mainstream Records)

Two years on from their debut, ‘Prologue', we get this metal album that mixes industrial and extreme; in places chunky, slow and disjointed, a touch of stoner too. If riff based extreme metal could go ambient, this would get close, if a bit loud.

Check out 'Mr Dinosaur Is Lost' and you'll see what I mean. One of the dafter song titles you'll come across too. Some interesting guitar work and a few decent melodies, but the songs don't seem to go anywhere. At best they nod at Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality.

At worst a disjointed directionless mess.

For riff lovers. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

DAVID JUDSON CLEMMONS & The FULLBLISS Yes Sir (Village Slut Records)

This singer/songwriter set up is a good album, mixing folk with pop and rock.

The opening two tracks, including the title track, mix strumming on both acoustic and electric guitars and some nice arrangements.

The drums and bass are good enough and light, to produce some decent melodies without being too whimsical. A nod at indie pop and indie rock with pleasant vocal harmonies.

'Silicone City' is an uptempo country rocker, the violin adding an extra dimension.

There’s a grunge dimension to some, the roughness to 'Red Hot Soul' is worth checking out, a heavy guitar sound. ***

Review by Joe Geesin

STEEN GRONTVED Night Vision Goggles (Lion Music)

Danish guitarist who has produced an instrumental album (bar one vocal track) that will appeal to lovers of fusion and jazz rock, at times it even verges on the West Coast AOR sound for instance 'Home Planet'.

I do like many styles of music but for me this just leaves me sadly hunting for the skip button! If you do like fusion and jazz rock then do try this album as the production and playing are spot on. **½

Review by Jason Ritchie

MANTICORA The Black Circus Part 2 - Disclosure (Locomotive Records)

Prog metal bands seem to be springing out all over the place and Manticora are now on their fifth album. Sadly though this band are peddling metal by numbers as despite some fine musicianship they have forget the basics - a good, strong melody. It just lacks any hook to pull the listener in which is a shame as they can certainly play and the rhythm section is very tight.

Approach with caution although I am sure existing fans of the band will enjoy this new release. **½

Review by Jason Ritchie


Now this one will set the cat amongst the pigeons! They play lounge versions of metal classics with a female vocalist, Harriet Ohlsson. Never have you heard Metallica's 'Seek & Destroy' played like this! Mind you 'Run To The Hills' sounds very different and does work well in this format. I draw the line at 'Breaking the Law' though, as the handclaps just had me reaching for the skip button! The best is saved to the last though in the shape of Motorhead's 'Orgasmatron', I mean can you ever imagine a Motorhead tune with piano and female backing vocals?

Like many novelty ideas eg dread Zeppelin the shelf-life is limited and many metal fans will detest this big time I am sure. But of you're after something a bit different then Hellsongs prove that the test of any good song is that it can be played in any style. **½

Review by Jason Ritchie

LITTLE RIVER BAND Re-arranged The Store For Music

Recorded in 2006 this sees the band re-record their classic tunes although with a relatively new line-up bar guitarist Stephen Housden who has been with the band for over 25 years now.

So really this is a tribute band in all but name! Only 'Lady' with its more guitar orientated sound and 'Man On Your Mind' are on par with the originals, otherwise it is okay but after you've heard the original versions so many times these re-recordings are a pale imitation!

Get the originals as the vocals are stronger and that was how the songs were meant to be. **

Review by Jason Ritchie

BRANT BJORK and THE BROS Somera Sol (Duna/Cargo Records)

Interesting rock album this, kicking off with a quirky bass riff on 'Turn Yourself On' that firstly grabs you but doesn't change at all, quickly becoming monotonous.

'Love Is Revolution' at least attempts a bit of a guitar solo but the rhythm, while interesting at times, changes little throughout.

A touch of indie rock to 'Shrine Communications', a riff based on an arpeggio which sounds disjointed, given the guitar solo and vocals don't fit it at all.

Not all the songs are that bad, some are. Interesting moments but the ideas aren't explored or expanded enough, in some cases not even thought through. **

Review by Joe Geesin

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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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