Quick plays: MIKKO JOENSUU, ODDITY, VINNIE MOORE

MIKKO JOENSUU Amen 1

An ambitious musical adventure here from Mikko Joensuu as this album is the first part of  a planned trilogy of albums. This is a very sparse album, in that Mikko’s vocals are the main focus backed in the main by piano, strings and pedal steel guitar, the latter gives some of the songs a distinctive country feel.

There is a religious overtone to the lyrics, which you can gather from the song titles alone – ‘Closer My God’ being the more obvious example. ‘I’d Give You All’ has a Leonard Cohen feel, that heartfelt, mournful and plaintive vocal delivery.

An album to be listened to properly, this is no background music, and looking forward to hearing the next installments. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

ODDITY Settle Down

Debut release from a Chicago based three-piece – Oscar Baker (Vocals/Guitar), Harvey Baker (Vocals/Bass) and Tom Fry (Drums). They have a great jangly sound in the guitars and know their way around a decent tune. The title track and ‘Night Owl’ will have you bopping around your room like a mad one. It can possibly sound a little one paced at times, but overall not a bad debut album at all. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE CULT Hidden City

The Cult returns with this new effort after the release of “Choice of weapon” in 2012. “Hidden city” has been cited as the final of a trilogy, following “Born into this” (2005) and “Choice of weapon”…

It is definitely in the same vein as its two predecessors from a music sounding perspective, however, Ian Astbury’s voice hasn’t sounded this rich and full since “Sonic Temple” in 1989! This is not bombastic and happy, rather, more thought-provoking and brooding. Nice to hear Billy Duffy throw in some great guitar solos over and above his killer riffing.

This is not for everybody, but it is well-penned music. For those that like their rock heavy and moody, this is for you. ****

Review by Nick van der Meulen

REDS’COOL Press Hard SPV

Reds’Cool is a hard rock outfit hailing from Russia. As one can imagine, the band has been touted as the next Gorky Park – the Russian band that made it big with “Bang” in the late 80’s. While the latter was bombastic and stadium-like, Reds’Cool rocks in the vein of the newer Whitesnake and Thunder. “Press Hard” is the band’s third effort…

“Dangerous one” opens proceedings and helps the listener into the infectious groove and it won’t take long until the foot is tapping and the head bobbing. This continues throughout, with the husky tones of Slava Aleksanov, along with the twin guitar attack of Ilja Smirnof and Sergei Fedotov hypnotizing you to enjoy no bullsh*t, straight up, sing-along melodic hard rock. There are only nine songs on offer, but you can be assured that each one is killer.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Reds’Cool is damn cool. They’ve been touring with A-ha (!) and Magnum this year and the band carries the music well from the studio to the stage. Well worth checking out. ****1/2

Review by Nick van der Meulen

VINNIE MOORE Aerial visions Mind’s Eye Music

Vinnie Moore is a guitar virtuoso, beginning releasing instrumental albums in the 80’s, before joining up with Alice Cooper for a while in 1991 (you can hear him on “Hey Stoopid”). He continued releasing solo albums, before becoming UFO’s resident guitar player in 2003. “Aerial visions” is his latest solo release (released in October 2015)…

While Vinnie is a huge asset to UFO, I feel his solo releases are criminally underrated and “Aerial visions” should be given a punt. His early solo releases “Mind’s Eye” and “Time Odyssey” are classics and this album harks back to those days, with many a melodic tune to be heard here. He kicks some butt with a cool cover of ZZ Top’s “La Grange” too!

If you enjoy your guitar instrumental albums, you’re going to seriously enjoy this. Worthy of your attention. ****1/2

Review Nick van der Meulen


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Power Plays w/c 13 May (Mon-Fri)

WARM RAIN Here Comes The Rain Again (Rain Recordings)
DARWIN Cosmic Rays (indie)
MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND Love & Beyond (Frontiers)
MARQUIS DRIVE Shine On (indie)
YOUR LIFE & MINE Remind To Remember (indie)
EMERALD SUN What becomes Of You (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 13 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 JIM PETERIK WORLD STAGE Winds Of Change (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 WHITESNAKE Flesh & Blood (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BUFORD POPE The Waiting Game (Unchained Records)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

NEVER THE BRIDE Surprise (2005)



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