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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Silverhead

Silverhead

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of the self-titled album from Michael Des Barres' first band. There is very much a glam vibe here. This is a bit stereotypical in terms of sound, but these guys rock. I'd have to say the biggest standout here for me is the bass playing. Nigel Harrison was the bassist on this and he really shines. Overall this sounds most like a cross between Sweet and David Bowie to me, but there is some range from there.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Long Legged Lisa

Some killer guitar rock sound opens this. The tune grinds out from there with a blues rock meets glam rock texture. It's part David Bowie and part Sweet. The slide guitar soloing on this is classic.

Underneath the Light
The glam rock concept is still firmly in place here. This calls to mind the Alice Cooper band in a lot of ways. Still, there are elements of Sweet in the mix. This is a straightahead rocker that works really well. I love the bass work on this thing. The extended instrumental section on this is screaming hot.
Ace Supreme
Another hard rocker, this has a cool riff driving it. It's not a huge change or a surprise, but it's just an effective tune.
Johnny
Acoustic guitar based at the start, this comes in like a ballad. It works out to more of a classic 70s rocker sound. This is perhaps like something from David Bowie merged with Free or Bad Company.
In Your Eyes
Piano opens this song. It's another that's more of a ballad, but it has an almost punk rock edge to it. Sure, the glam thing is still in place, too. I guess I can make out some hints of the Stones, too. I love the bass work on the more rocking stuff here.
Rolling with My Baby
Slide guitar based blues rock is the order of business here. This has more of that David Bowie element at play. It's definitely a bit like Sweet, too. There is a punk edge at play, as well. The guitar really dominates this.
Wounded Heart
This might be the best thing here. It's among the most complex. It has some great musical moments. I again am in love with the bass work. There is a strong balance between the harder rocking stuff and the mellower moments. If I had to compare this to any one artist, I'd say, "Uriah Heep." I love the guitar solo on this. It's particularly expressive.
Sold Me Down the River
No frills rock and roll, this is another cool cut. It's perhaps more Rolling Stones than it is glam. The horns add something to the piece.
Rock 'N' Roll Band
There are no molds broken here. Then again, with a title like that, what would you expect. This is very much a glam rocker that's got healthy helping of Sweet, the Mod Movement and some Bowie built into it. While nothing particularly unique, this is a classy cut. The sing along section has a cool bass driven element. Some solid guitar riffing takes over from there. This is another that has an almost punk rock edge on this powered up jam.
Silver Boogie
A high energy boogie, this rocker is a lot of fun. It's basically an instrumental and less than a minute in length.
Bonus Tracks
               
Ace Supreme (Live)
The sound on this is really bad. It feels like something that might have been recorded at a punk rock show. It's echoey, extremely distant and at times almost unlistenable. It sounds like they put in a high energy and effective performance. With a better recording, this would probably be better than the album version. The guitar solo section stands tall, even here.
Rock 'N' Roll Band (Live)
The mellower jam that starts this really suffers from the poor sound quality. When they power it up it's marginally better. There are some cool bits of music here, but the sound makes it hard to take. They drop it back for an audience participation section mid-track. That makes it very clear that this is an audience recording. The louder jamming later in the piece stands taller because it manages to overcome a lot of the sound quality problems. This song winds up at roughly nine and a half minutes in this live version.
Sold Me Down the River (Live)
The sound quality isn't such a problem here. This bluesy rocker manages to stand up alright despite it. It works better than either of the other two live songs here.
Ace Supreme (7" Version)
Here we get a single version of the earlier cut. This works quite well like this. It feels a bit rawer in some ways.
Oh No No No (B-Side of Ace Supreme)
As the parenthetical says this track was the flip of the previous single. This is a cool rocker, really. I'd probably have landed it on the album proper. I'm not sure what I would have removed to make the room, but this song is good enough to deserve a slot on the disc.
Rolling with My Baby (7" Version)
Here we get another single version of a song from the main album. I think I might like this version better than the album one. Still, it's a cool song either way.
 
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