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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

La Paz

Granite

Review by Larry Toering

This is a disc that has been a long time coming, from Doogie White's old band that never got its due and wound up defunct for years on end. They used to tour a lot back in the mid 80s, but unrelenting circumstances folded their cards and now they're back with a killer AOR set. It’s composed of six of their originals and three brand new tracks that sound like they belong with no question. It works so well it's just a shame this didn't happen sooner. What's done is done and now they have a product to measure their talent and chemistry by, after all these years. I simply can't get enough of Doogie White’s material and there have been quite a few releases seeing the light of day in recent time. Now La Paz can finally be added to the pile of fine work to which White has contributed. There is plenty of incendiary guitar to contrast the otherwise chorus laden work of White. That guitarist goes by the name of “Chic McSherry,” who is also a fiction author. I’m currently reading his book, so he is all over my world at the moment, as well. This is another fine piece of work from White, and this band of his brothers. This probably won't leave my deck for months on end, as was the case with White’s recent solo album and a few others. I guess I can say that White has done everything to get in my head and stay there, so I wouldn't be surprised if that same feeling crosses many minds.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Too Good To lose
The disc starts with some intricate keys from Andy Mason that become enhanced by some chords from McSherry and we're off to a great start once White takes over and delivers a hook line and sinker chorus. Some choruses beg for the proper number of repeats, and this nails the track just right. Everything is quick and to the point, no beating around the proverbial bush. The overall sound is that of a familiar old playlist that never leaves your head. This is the kind of stuff of which I simply can't get enough. AOR hard rock hasn't been this good since the 80s, and it's just nice to hear it come back with La Paz and White.
This Boy
This tune also has a familiar ambiance to it. The first six numbers all have the sense of familiarity because it’s material they've had around all this time. Still, the sound of it all is refreshing. The usual standard chorus gets delivered once again, with equal parts of guitar and keyboard textures, to spice the track up as it goes. This one features a blistering guitar solo, and the guitar sound itself contains quite a bite. This might not be the greatest number here, but not the worst either.
Lesson In Love
Some under the breath laughter from White opens this number with fine lyrics jumping out of it. This amounts so far to one good track after the other. It's hard to believe some of these songs weren't written close to the recording, as they sound like stuff White is doing lately, and that is the quality level of the whole thing making headway by just the third song. Killer keyboard flurries and that viscous biting guitar sound are all over this, and once again McSherry pulls a searing lead that polarizes the already pleasing lyrical approach and brings the cut together perfectly. All of these tracks are a great listen on repeat, but this is one of the most contagious of them. Like a long lost friend, this one appeals so much that it's like a reborn classic.
Amy
Just when things start to peak, this little gem comes to life and it's pretty much over. As far as I'm concerned this is a thing of perfection. I love this song, and although it only took one listen, it has growth potential every time I hear it. After a week or so, I'm hooked, but then I knew this album was going to have a special appeal to me. Strangely enough I can see anyone from Mick Jagger to Tiny Tim singing this, no kidding. This is so fantastic to me that it's crazy.
Just For Today
After that it doesn't take much to please, and this track has loads of rocking factors that can't be denied. Really, White is simply a crafty bugger if there ever was one. His big chorus skills are once again all over this, and the whole track doesn't skip a peep from anyone. The consistency going on throughout must be noted, as that is one of the more appealing things about this collection of rough diamonds. Starting with the guitar indicating it's going to dominate, but it's more of an inflection once White takes the wheel. McSherry doesn't get buried though, as he enhances the fantastic chorus with some lovely fills before he cuts loose in another superb solo. Everyone shines here on yet another blistering slab of AOR that cuts to the bone. This is more great stuff from their batch of staples.
What Do You Say
This takes the cake for intros with a nice keyboard progression that seems to ring of a familiarity to it. It could be a natural coincidence, but I like how it actually proceeds to carry the tune. This is the final of their six tried and true gems, and the guitar from McSherry this time is of the unreal variety. It’s just amazing work, soaring from cloud to cloud all over it. I have to say I like this guy, and he's quite a talent. I love the “ooh”s and “ah”s here from White as well. That aspect features nicely in a couple of the tracks, just a soothing touch that quivers the spine..
Still In Love
This is the first of three new cuts to blend with the others, and it just fits like a glove. It breeds wonder how they seamlessly translate from old to new, but it matters very little in the greater scheme of things. I love the chorus once again, and the great guitar work that perfectly holds the contagious vibe together.
Young And Restless
This is a tighter track than the previous one, with a machine gun effect and some great understated falsetto runs here and there. There is killer guitar work here as well, and background vocals to help thicken the pace of it all. I am simply loving this, as it comes to a head and White laughs a chuckle before saying “slam the door, Al,” and a deranged bit of laughter fades away. This is absolutely brilliant!
Shame The Devil
This is another fine track. A lovely acoustic motif sets it up before things hit hard and lead into a storming romper of a tune to wrap up this marvelous outing by a band that was somehow destined to thrive
 
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