SNAKECHARMER – Snakecharmer

Snakecharmer

(Frontiers Records) Release date 21.01.13

It’s unusual when a ‘superband’ is greater than its constituent parts.  But, if anything, Micky Moody and Neil Murray have created a wonderful vehicle – at last – for Chris Ousey (Heartland, Virginia Wolf ).  His vocals and impassioned delivery are a major highlight of this album.

With a band pedigree that in part goes back to the original Whitesnake you would expect there to be a bit of that band’s swagger and confidence.  As you may suspect, this is first class, catchy, bluesy rock and roll but with a sheen that gives it a consistent quality.  Much of this is down to the production by the band themselves.

Overall  Ousey comes across like Brian Howe in a latter-day Bad Company but at times he hollers like a smoother Rod Stewart  (‘To The Rescue’) or Paul Rodgers (‘Turn Of The Screw’) whilst he sounds like a less gritty Frankie Miller on ‘Accident Prone’.  There’s even a touch of the Quireboys on ‘A Breath Away’ and a little Foreigner on ‘Stand Up’.

With Moody’s slide guitar giving a characteristic bluesy sweep, Laurie Wisefield’s more straight ahead riffing and not forgetting Adam Wakeman’s keys, plus of course Magnum’s Harry James keeping it all in check, the whole album is a refreshing treat.  ‘A Little Rock And Roll’ is the glorious standout.

And not only will this help raise Chris Ousey’s under-the-radar profile it is an excellent new focus for Micky Moody and will hopefully take him away from his solo pub gigs to something a  bit bigger.

On the critical side, the album does seem to nose-dive a little towards the end,  in terms of the strength of the songs and I’m not sure that’s also because the bluesy quotient is also cranked up.

To me, the album sounds like it should have been created somewhere in the late 1970s amongst bands like Bad Company and Foreigner; there are some similarities in the sense of a song-based approach and of course the band’s established pedigree.

It’s refreshing also that here’s a band that doesn’t sound like Led Zeppelin or Black Country Communion.  And for me, that’s a good enough start to the new year. ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Interview with Snakecharmer


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