Album review: VANDENBERG’S MOONKINGS – Vandenberg’s Moonkings

Vandenberg's Moonkings

Mascot Records [Release Date: 24.02.14]

Adrian Vandenberg is back! The man responsible for the sensational guitar solo in Whitesnake’s all time classic “Here I Go Again” and whose collaboration with David Coverdale built the foundations for the amazing “Slip Of The Tongue” (1989) has decided to rekindle his relationship with high velocity, emotionally charged Rock.

After a 16 year old hiatus the multi-talented Dutchman has decided to put down his brushes, assemble a team of young but highly talented local musicians and utilise their energy and passion towards creating a new collection of killer Rock anthems – one that comes under the title “Vandenberg’s Moonkings”.

Adrian’s passion for 70s Rock has characterised his musical output from day one so no one should be at all surprised to find elements from Free, Led Zeppelin and, of course, Whitesnake incorporated in the twelve new compositions on offer here. What makes “Vandenberg’s Moonkings” such an irresistible musical proposition, however, is Adrian’s ability to keep his music fresh and relevant.

In his aim to create a collection of exciting and fresh-sounding material no idea – however unusual for this artist’s standards – was left unexplored.  Flamboyant licks, 70s Hammond themes, light orchestrations, cowbells, sexy lyrics – all have unreservedly found a place on this album and David Coverdale’s vocal contribution in a tripped-down version of “Sailing Ships” offers this album recognition and approval from one of Rock’s greatest surviving front men.

Looking for a filler in “Vandenberg’s Moonkings” is the equivalent of looking for a needle in a haystack. Opening track “Lust And Lies” introduces the album with a dynamic groovy guitar riff, “Close To You” finds singer Jan Hoving emulating Robert Plant’s mid 70s swagger, while “Good Thing” is the band’s take on Americana through the prism of Whitesnake.

“Breathing” is a modern-day acoustic guitar ballad which is accompanied by clever orchestral arrangements, while “Steal Away” follows a more balls-out classic Rock approach.

Two compositions that truly stand out are the groove-laden, cow bell infused “Line Of Fire” and “Out Of Reach” – another emotionally-charged ballad filled with beautiful melodies supported by a variety of string instruments. The latter part of the album features material of equal value and persuasion.

“Leave This Town” is another groovy Whitesnake-influenced track, “Leeches” showcases Vandenberg’s unique guitar skills, “Nothing Touches”  is a dirty-sounding hymn to Rock N ‘Roll and this new version of “Sailing Ships” is but a cherry on top of a very tasty musical cake.

I don’t have anything other than praise to offer this album, being a truly inspired effort by one of Rock’s finest guitarists. While still respectful of both his childhood influences and past achievements, the Dutch maestro has created a fresh sounding and truly delightful Rock album worthy of both your attention and support.

People’s attitude towards purchasing music has changed dramatically since Adrian Vandenberg last released a studio album but that is no excuse for people not to invest in this fine gem.

Come on, get yourselves a copy and, since you’re at it, a ticket to one of Adrian’s upcoming shows – I am absolutely convinced that you’ll not regret it!

John Stefanis

Rating: ****1/2 (4.5/5.0)

Interview (January 2014)

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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