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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Glenn Hughes

Music For The Divine

Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that it seems any more that bonus tracks are becoming a bad idea. Had the last two bonus tracks been left off of this disc, it would have been a pretty perfect album. Those final two songs, though, particularly in the positions they are in, really take away from the experience. If you ignore them, you’ll find an album that’s another in a string of killer discs from Glenn Hughes (probably the most noted rock and roll voice). As with much of his material this disc combines funk and rock into a collage that feels a bit like Living Colour and Red Hot Chili Peppers. This one feels more contemplative and rather Beatles-like, though. This thing is really a great disc. I just wish the bonus tracks had been relegated to some kind of rarities album. They really bring the listener down from the power of the rest of the CD.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Valiant Denial
A great classic rock texture, feeling almost progish, starts this one off. As they launch into the song proper it’s with a bounding, galloping riff that feels a bit like the XYZ sessions that led to Yes’ “Mind Drive.” This, though, is more a straight ahead killer classic rock number that reminds me just a bit of Living Colour – at least at this point. Keyboards in the mix later, though, do bring back a bit more of that progressive rock sound. The instrumental break on this one also brings in more of that prog rock sort of texture. Then in a complete turn of events they twist the track into a full on neo-prog segment after this. This killer is a great way to start off the CD.
Steppin' On
With major funk in the house, this one feels like part Living Colour and part Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s another smoking cut on a disc that’s looking to be a killer. This has some stellar guitar work and an inspired vocal performance. This moves out into a great break later and from there drops just keys for a short time. They power back into the song proper from there. Another change over later creates the backdrop for an extremely tasty classic rock jam that serves as the outro.
Monkey Man
More funky sounds begin this, feeling again like the Chili Peppers. However, they drop this back to a ballad like section to break it up. This is another killer track on a disc that’s full of them. It turns Beatles-like at times.
This House
This is a psychedelically tinged ballad that feels a lot like the more tripped out music by The Beatles. Strings are brought in later in the song to complete that picture.
You Got Soul
After a short percussion introduction they turn this out into one of the most purely funky tunes I’ve heard in a while. A drop back to more stripped down approach for the lines of the verses creates both a contrast and a bit of a Lenny Kravitz texture. They turn it into a heavier hard rocking sound later and then scream out into some major fury. The vocal arrangement here has more of that Kravitz texture. This song would be a real highlight of most discs. This album is so strong that it’s just another in the pack.
Frail
The first half of this cut is a somewhat dark ballad that still manages to have a bit of a Beatles texture to it. As they power this one out later it takes on neo-prog and classic rock elements in a melodic, but harder rocking jam. They drop it back for a string laden reprise of the ballad structures after that, and then turn in a killer acoustic based jam from that point. That sound serves as the outro to the piece.
Black Light
This one pumps out in a purely smoking, rubbery, funky riff. The sound continues, with more textures and elements add in to make up the bulk of this killer song. It’ s another that seems to combine the sounds of Living Colour and Red Hot Chili Peppers into a great classic rock motif.
Nights In White Satin
Hughes and company take on the Moody Blues classic here. With a more straight rock and roll approach this one takes a little getting used to, but it’s well worth the effort. While I don’t think I’d prefer this approach to the original, it’s without question an interesting twist on a track that is so ingrained into our group consciousness. These guys rock it out quite well and it makes for a nice rethinking of themes we’ve learned to take for granted.
Too High (Bonus Track)
Wow, if you were to take early Black Sabbath and turn it funky you’d probably have something really close to the musical approach on this number. This is another strong piece of music that works really well.
This Is How I Feel (Bonus Track)
If there are any losers on this set, this track and the next one would be them. Neither are really bad, but they just don’t stand up to the rest of the material on show here. “This Is How I Feel” is a somewhat psychedelic melodic jam that reminds me a bit of Extreme with a bit of Living Colour thrown into the mix. The rocking electric guitar solo segment late in the track serves to elevate it (as does the serious piece of psychedelic sitar like jamming afterwards), but it’s still not up to the standards of the rest of the CD.
Divine (Bonus Track)
A balladic tune, this is pretty and would have been much stronger in an earlier position on the disc. The main issues with this one are the fact that it doesn’t really go anywhere and it’s way too mellow to serve well as the closer.
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