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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Glenn Hughes

Soul Mover

Review by Gary Hill

Glenn Hughes should be a familiar name to fans of hard rock. He started out with the legendary band Trapeze and then worked with Deep Purple. He later brought his bass and vocal talents to use with a number of bands including Black Sabbath, and Gary Moore. He served as a guest performer on albums by a diverse range of albums including Tommy Bolin, Pat Travers, Climax Blues Band, Whitesnake, L.A. Blues Authority, Lynch Mob, Geoffrey Downes/The New Dance Orchestra, Motley Crue, Niacin, Erik Norlander and Ryo Okumoto. All the while he's been able to find the time to pursue a solo career, releasing a good number of albums over the years. Soul Mover is the latest disc of his solo material, and it's a very good one.

Joining Hughes on the album are his band which is composed of J. J. Marsh (guitar), Ed Roth (keyboards) and Chad Smith (drums, known for his work in The Red Hot Chili Peppers). Smith's fellow Chili Pepper Dave Navarro adds his guitar skills to a couple songs on the album. The disc is exceptionally strong with no weak material on show. It's musical style all fits into the hard rock vein, but there is a lot of range within that style. They hit everything from the obvious Peppers to Hendrix, Faith No More, Black Sabbath Stevie Ray Vaughn and even Prince in terms of musical territory. All in all, it makes for a release that should please even the most hard to impress hard rock fan.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Soul Mover
This is a Hendrix-like hard rocking groove that really stomps. It's a sheer winner and a killer way to start the disc. It gets a little funky at time. Dave Navarro adds some killer lead guitar work to this one.
She Moves Ghostly
This one comes in with a fast paced and frantic tempo. The intro has a slightly spooky sound, but this is a killer up-tempo rocker. At times the rhythm become rather tribal, and there are some moments that feel like Deep Purple. This one is quite dynamic and very cool.
High Road
A very bluesy cut at first, this then turns almost to a funky bluesy take on old Black Sabbath for a bit. As the verse enters it's over top of wha guitar and percussion. This becomes a smoking raw funky groove before jumping eventually back up to the more filled out segment. This is a very cool and unusual piece. It features a killer Eastern tinged space rock instrumental break. A sitar based psychedelic segment ends it.
Orion
This is a pretty straightforward and rather generic rocker on the verses, but the riff that never ends chorus is very cool. It is another with a great instrumental break.
Change Yourself
Starting mellower than any of the previous cuts, this is still a bit too heavy to call it a ballad. It jumps to a more hared rocking but extremely accessible chorus. This dynamic piece is a definite winner and features positive and inspirational lyrics.
Let It Go
Beginning with a very mellow almost proggy bluesy sound, this one builds very slowly and feels quite jazzy. It qualifies as a ballad and is another example of how diverse this disc is. It jumps to a major hard rocking almost metal sound after the first verse. It drops back to the early segment after that second verse. It returns back to stomp territory as the second verse ends. This is a killer jam.
Dark Star
With lyrics that seem to talk about an alien invasion, this one comes in like a funky jam - a bit like the Chili Peppers. The chorus is very catchy, and this is another killer track.
Isolation
Tribal sounding drums start this, and as the instruments join it's in a funky jazzy balladic style. The vocals come in atop this mellow texture. The chorus is a straightforward hard rocking segment. The earlier section returns for the second verse. The cut continues alternating between these two elements until a new triumphant sounding section takes it later. It drops back to the jazzy movement later and a new jam comes out in this mode. The vocal arrangement on this one gets very soulful, and even feels a little like Prince at times.
Miss Little Insane
Although quite straightforward, the band packs a lot of character and depth into this killer rocker.
Last Mistake
This is a bluesy balladic rocker that works quite well and feels a bit like Faith No More takes on Stevie Ray and Jimi. The Princeish vocal touches show up on this rousing cut, too. The guitar solo on this one is especially tasty.
Don't Let Me Bleed
This is a very catchy and modern pop rock sounding balladic groove that still manages to show off some definite meaty stuff. While the verse is in that modern style, the chorus is an all out rocker. This resolves into a smoking hard rocking jam with some killer guitar work. It movers into a cool vocal arrangement alter, with strong instrumental work skating around it. While this dynamic track may not have been the best choice for an album closer, it still works well in that regard.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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