Artist: The Answer
Could it get any better at the moment for this lot? Due to their debut album ‘Rise’ (surely the best rock album of 2006), it’s often stated that the future of rock is in safe hands. Even winning ‘Best new band’ in 2005 you probably couldn’t see this happening, but look at them now, support act for AC/DC on their new tour, fans in high places, and now this, their second album that quite a few people have been waiting for to see if they are as good as they’re made out to be.
Well, as soon as ‘Demon Eyes’ begins with ‘that’ voice and the guitar in the background, it grabs you, shakes you about and demands to be listened to. Paul Mahon has a field day on guitar, while James Heatley on drums stamps his authority from the off, thrashing his way through the song. Just to prove he means business, he hammers those skins like a young Keith Moon on ‘Too far gone’, surely a song that’ll please those ‘DC fans as it has that chanted chorus that they love to join in with, and a guitar solo straight out of Angus Young’s book of solos, the bass that rattles yer bones from head to toe. Surely a band as young as this shouldn’t be allowed to come out with something as good as this!
Mind you having ‘Never too late’ from their debut album being used in the new ‘Guitar Hero World Tour’ game proves something doesn’t it. The first single from the album, ‘On and on’ is a case of ‘what we know best’, the hi-hat getting a good old tapping before another Angus styled riff burst through, just close enough without being an infringement of copyright though! It’s an obvious choice as an introduction to the album for those new to the band.
Things chill out a bit on the blues splattered ‘Cry out’, where Cormac Neeson absolutely nails the song. His voice couldn’t be any better, from low and husky to a full on shrill with a change of chord, again Mahon showing his worth on the six string, quite happily playing second fiddle to Neeson until he gets the nod, then its his show for another perfect solo. Thoughts of an up-to-date Free spring to mind by the end. Another slow bluesy-soaked song, ‘Why’d you change your mind’ traps you into thinking about a bit of a lull midway through, but beware, the explosion of wah-wah guitar and drums blows that away with Neeson giving a sly ‘That got ya’ laugh just to top it all off.
‘Pride’ is another big song on what is becoming a rather big album, hints of ‘Come follow me’ (Rise) about it, especially on the lead up to the chorus. For me, it’s Mickey Waters on bass who’s the star on this track, keeping things simple whilst still standing out above everyone, not overwhelming things when he could have got carried away, just going about his business which is a sign of a good bass player, especially on this neat and simple rocker.
As my wife described it ‘Walkin’ mat’ is a ballsy one, and she’s right! The thudding drums, heavy bass and rocked up guitar, and that’s just the first 25 seconds, before Neeson decides to give it what fettle on vocals, again sounding like someone beyond his years who can match anyone still going today. Give him another 3-5 years and he’ll be heavily involved in the ‘Rocks Greatest Ever Vocalists’ in the rock tabloids, just you see. Absolutely startling!
A good candidate for follow up single could well be ‘Tonight’, as near to the Black Crowes as you can get when in their prime first time around, which can’t be too bad to be compared to surely? It’s a safe, not too hard rocking song that will come over well on the airwaves if it ever gets the chance, but you know radio these days. Anything heavier than Bryan Adams and there’s no chance, so see what happens. It’s like being taken back to 1977 all over again on ‘Dead of the night’, the punk/pop frantic pace you get from the word ‘Go’. Each member of the band going hell for leather whilst Neeson again giving it his all, just keeping up with the pace. Thankfully there’s a twin guitar break for all of 10 seconds for him to catch his breath before he’s off again.
‘Comfort zone’ brings things down to a more relaxed, almost laid back pace, showing the band possibly at their strongest after all the more up tempo songs. They’ve taken this slow song and really given it everything they’ve got both musically and vocally, showing how tight a unit and how competent they are, not being afraid to push themselves that extra yard to get the polished finish needed. A damn good song!
As if a reminder at what they do best is needed, ‘Evil man’ rocks like there’s no tomorrow. From the guitar riff that opens the song, it’s literally ‘right we’re off’, and you’re taken on a ride of pure, raw aggression, that just make you shake your head in a ‘I give up manner’.
After listening to the album it has gone to prove that yes, The Answer are as good as they’ve been made out to be, and yes, rock is definitely in safe hands.
Review by: Bob
1. Demon Eyes
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