You wait ages for your favourite singers from “back in the day”, then two come along at once. Hot on the heels of Stephen Pearcy’e new solo album He Saw It Coming, the new one from Great White main man Jack Russell has plopped onto CackBlabbath’s digital doormat.
So, yeah, this isn’t an “official” Great White release, but there’s value in a name and obviously using the moniker of his previous employers is going to open doors. Of course the inevitable “lets stir up a bit of controversy and get the profile up” PR moves, like this, have begun but lets cut through all that and welcome Jack back to the metal scene, where larger than life characters like his are sorely needed.
Whatever well documented demons Jack has had to deal with, 2017 sees him well and truly back in the game, and fronting a band with more than enough bite to warrant the Great White name.
As you’d expect there’s no major stylistic breakthroughs to be had here, Jack sticks to what he does best, and who’d want anything else? Album opener Sign Of The Times may well be a commentary on modern life, but most of all it’s a classic slice of retro-infused sincere rock straightforwardness that soon has you nodding along. The nostalgia vibe is done to perfection, with the likes of Crazy positively oozing old-school rock’n’roll charm.
There’s Guns’n’Roses or Poison vibe in places, with Jack summoning up his inner Axl or Brett for stadium-huge sounding tracks like Love Don’t Live Here which is yet another gem on this gem of an album. The funky groove of My Addiction has an autobiographical twist as he recounts his drug abuse with lyrics like “I can’t stop, although it’s killing me” and “Falling sideways my head’s on the floor, can’t get up to make it out the door” laid over a funky vibe that belies the serious subject matter.
With nothing to prove JRGW are free to extend their musical muscles, this works well throughout and is particularly effective in the reggae tinged Don’t Let Me Go which gives the album something a little different and is yet another highlight.
On an album that’s damn near full of Highlights.
And then there’s the barbershop quintet Godspeed… and no, we didn’t imagine it!!
From not being sure what to expect to thinking this may be the first album of the year contender of 2017 in 41 minutes, that’s not bad going at all. He Saw It Coming provides a top notch 40 minutes of hard rock goodness rooted in the hair metal heydey of the 80s. You want big choruses? You want massive hooks? You want inevitable power ballads? Well if the answer to those questions is an emphatic Yes then this is one you need to check out.