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Lisa Smith's Powerhaus

When you mention 'hard hitting' and 'female fronted rock' in the same sentence, most people will immediately think of Heart and maybe Pat Benatar. But that would be missing the point. The mid 80s, in particular, were a hotbed for some wonderful big hair rock bands - Saraya, Vixen and Fiona, to mention but three. A glorious and often overlooked era.

But Lisa Smith's Powerhaus are about to redress that balance. And as 'real' rock continues to make a welcome resurgence with critical acclaim for great albums by big name acts such as Whitesnake, AC/DC and Saxon, what the world needs is some young pretenders to take on the mantle. And Powerhaus - fronted by Lisa Smith and Chuck Page look ready to pick up that gauntlet, with swagger and poise.

Formed in Toronto in 2006, Lisa - inspired by the likes of Coverdale, Dio and Halford - was previously vocalist with goth rock band Exovedate. By contrast, Chuck - with had a handful of self-produced albums to his name - was very much grounded in the blues-rock of Beck, Page and Clapton.

The coming together of these two is nothing short of seismic. And if you don't believe me, delve straight into Maze Of Souls at track 6 - Rat - and get ready to rock! Some of the best female rock vocals in an age and searing blues based lead guitar work that will remove your facial hair.

Maze Of Souls combines Derek And The Dominoes, with early Sabbath, big hair rock, and ZZ Top and somehow - and here's the trick - sounds remarkably fresh and contemporary. Female fronted guitar rock hasn't sounded this good for a decade or more. And oh, how we've missed it. Highly recommended.


Review by Pete Whalley

Best of 2009

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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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