Power Of Three [advance preview 2016]
Hard rock isn’t dead; it’s just matured a little and in the hands of The DGB it benefits from strong songs, a booming production and a great band that make the most of guitarist Danny Giles’s impressive talents.
Danny has long straddled the thin dividing line between hard rock and rock blues. He’s a vicarious guitarist who knows the value of a recognizable tone and the use of subtle dynamics. He’s an intense player who draws on the old school virtues of vibrato, sustain and measured shredding. He’s also got a set of pipes that can shred wallpaper at ten paces and a tight band that pushes his abilities to the limit.
He’s spent a considerable part of his career in Europe – particularly in Holland where they fete ripping guitar players – and even Russia where the band toured successfully last year.
‘More Is More’ is a significant step forward in his recording career. The album has taken the best part of a year to enjoy a proper UK release, but Danny has wasted no time in completing the line-up he feels happiest with.
He’s brought in experienced drummer and producer Pat Garvey who gives the band real presence, while his production nails their DNA. His exuberant muscular drum style also shapes the songs and moulds them into several original arrangements.
Keyboard player Emerson Quiros is another significant addition as he thickens the sound, emphasizes the melodies and brings an extra dimension to some fine songs. He switches from funky keyboard embellishments to earthy Hammond and his solos complement Giles’ guitar playing, while bass player Jon Chase nonchalantly holds things down alongside ebullient Garvey.
The band’s moniker may be the same but there’s a chasm between the past and present line-ups. The stop-time ‘Won’t Let Love’ for example, makes a great use of some tension building gaps before Giles’s impassioned vocal and growling guitar line comes back in over a layered organ, and levers us into a booming shuffle.
The aptly named ‘Been There Twice’ from Danny’s original EP/CD has a totally different whispered vocal attack, which he also uses to good effect on ‘Smoking From The Pipe’. ‘Been There Twice’ also benefits from deft keyboards and an explosive guitar solo over cymbal crashes that serve to emphasize the lyrical message.
‘Don’t Go Messin’ is almost unrecognizable from the original version, save for the relationship lyrics. Danny’s tonal depth on the first solo brings real gravitas to the song before he rises again with a sustained note that cuts a swathe through the track.
There’s real diversity too, on well sequenced album that always sounds as if it’s on a linear track. ‘Shiver’ is a cool Santana influenced groove on which Danny phrases impressively over an electric piano arpeggio. The number builds towards a resolving solo which he delivers with precision, dexterity and a wailing tone over Emerson Quiros’s Hammond, on a fade that comes all too soon.
There’s also a contrasting quiet-to-loud dynamic on the reworked ‘Smoking From the Pipe’, which builds from a military drum intro, via a sledgehammer beat and an array of acoustic and electric guitar tones into a cast iron rocker. A mid-number wah-wah solo takes the song to another level and effectively makes it a barometer of just how far the band has progressed over the last few years
Danny cleverly fuses heavy rock and funk on ‘Demonise’ before a bone crunching solo and some bristling percussion leads into a closing guttural expiation that reflects the songs muscularity.
In sharp contrast ‘Love Is The Law’ shows he is capable of writing heartfelt lyrics to match a deep groove on which the keyboard and guitars coalesce seamlessly. His emotive notes help shift the band from lung bursting rock to rock balladry.
The album finishes with ‘Wait For Me Mama’, an incendiary rocker on which Danny tears into some red raw, double tracked vocals over a thundering bass line, as Pat Garvey extends the piece into the fade with a drum solo that is the producers prerogative.
‘More is More’ impresses with fine band interplay, ripping solos and good songs. Above all, it’s an album that gives the band a unique identity that will serve them well in a crowded market place. More is More, enough said! ****
Review by Pete Feenstra
Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 19:00
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