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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Snakecharmer – Debut album review

Snakecharmer – Debut album review
Released on: Frontiers. Release date: Available now.
 This band of fine musicians that make up Snakecharmer, have very deep pedigrees indeed!
Featuring former original Whitesnake members Micky Moody (Guitars) and Neil Murray (Bass), along with well-rounded drummer Harry James (Thunder, Magnum and many more!), guitarist Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash, Home), vocalist Chris Ousey (Heartland, Virginia Wolf) and keyboard whizz, Adam Wakeman (Strawbs, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath), yes – no pun intended! – son of the maestro himself, Rick Wakeman.
This is a bit of an interesting album, as I’m sure many people would have their own ideas of how it could turn out sound wise, with perhaps the general consensus that it would be quite akin to the classic Whitesnake sound of old …, well …, in places it does …
Opener ‘My Angel’ is very nicely presented melodic rock, with a nice catchy chorus and wonderful bridge in the mid-section, with some sweet slide guitar work from Micky Moody, something I remember well from early Whitesnake gigs before a tasty harmony part between both Micky and Laurie and then an absolutely ripping solo from Laurie, excellent!

Next track ‘Accident Prone’ - just with the title alone - jogs my memory back to the Status Quo track of the same name but no, it’s not the same track and no it really doesn’t sound like Quo, it really doesn’t.
There really is a Bad Company like vibe to the sound the band has captured, which is no bad thing.
Another mid-paced number in quite a similar vein to the opener, but there is middle section that’s almost classic old school Whitesnake. Nice touch and nice solo by the way!
Wow! Next track ‘To The Rescue’ has a very Bryan Adams like groove to it, I’m sorry but when you hear this, you tell me otherwise?
It’s not a bad thing though and it's a really hooky number indeed, of course the fact that it’s Bryan Adams' like probably tells you that!
An excellent bluesy, soulful power ballad next with ‘Fallen Leaves,’ with some gospel like backing vocals through the chorus, almost making it sound like ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door,’ but really only at that point.
Again, there’s a sweet guitar solo herein, very slick indeed.
 ‘A Little Rock ‘n’ Roll’ kind of conjures up a little Bad Company meets Whitesnake, with a twist with Chris Ousey’s vocal, which I can’t help but tag as a male Tina Turner like sound.
A good steady modern day blues like rocking number.
Next up ‘Turn Of The Screw’s’ intro really reminds me very much of Quo’s ‘Down Down,’ of course it’s not, but I will say that the track is very Quo like indeed as it develops.
Kind of a little like a recent Quo track, ‘Beginning of the End’ actually, but nonetheless, cloning someone else or not, it’s a pretty good number.
‘Smokin’ Gun’ is a little of a laid back chug along type rocker, hmm, almost the same groove as ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ then it hits a nice bridge section, with some sweet guitar work once more.
Catchy chorus too …
‘Stand Up’ next is another melodic rocker / AOR type number, that the chorus really reminds me of something else.
Nice hook lines, the piano driven chords in the chorus really make it sound familiar, but it’s Snakecharmer’s own handiwork, no doubt at all.
Great solo once again, but what would anyone expect from two class players like Micky Moody and Laurie Wisefield? Nothing less!
 I've said nothing of Harry James or Neil Murray so far, but as the rhythm section they're right there in the pocket, high pedigrees as I said, who've both played alongside some of the world's greatest players.
Likewise Adam Wakeman, who like his father Rick is in a class of his own.
Perhaps it's just a shame that there's no jamming keyboards solo's present here, as the guy is seriously talented.
‘Guilty As Charged’ is a nice playful almost Bad Company like rocker, very smooth and a nice soaring lead solo too, which then leads to a slide solo which just has to be Micky Moody! Remember those solo's well from back in the early Whitesnake days. 
OK, sorry but the Quo comparisons continue and while this next one is not a Status Quo track, it does have a very Quo like 12 bar groove. ‘Nothing To Lose’ almost also reminds me a little of Lynyrd Skynyrd too.
Nice guitar / organ driven rocker.
Then the last number here, ‘Cover Me In You’ seems to border on AOR, it's certainly in a more commercial hard rock style.
Good steady catchy number and nice album closer.
It’s funny you know, for some reason the first couple of spins of this album it wasn’t grabbing me too much, but it’s without doubt a grower.
Yes, I’ve drawn a bunch of comparisons here and there, which to be honest is hardly surprising from the backgrounds of these guys.
Is it a killer album? I have to say no, not for me.
Is it outstanding? No, not really, it's very well performed material and has a bunch of high points, it’s a very enjoyable listen that brings back some good old memories in its styling’s.
Not bad ...
Rating: 3.5 out of 5