Sound — 8
Formed beneath the blazing inferno that places particular emphasis on Los Angeles, one of the latest classic rock supergroups features some impressive talent and appropriately delivers a noticeable blow with their self-titled debut studio album. California Breed is fronted by rock veteran Glenn Hughes, who previously served behind such heavyweights as Deep Purple and, albeit briefly, Black Sabbath. Behind the skins we find Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, and has since performed with his father's band on multiple occasions as well as with Foreigner, UFO, and his own project, Bonham. Falling in last on the roster is guitarist Andrew Watt, easily the least known of the three musicians however has developed a strong reputation within the rock community for his seasoned approach.
California Breed serves as the reuniting of Bonham and Hughes, whose previous collaborations within Black Country Communion were widely praised until their eventual split last year. Considering the members' respective backgrounds, the expectations for California Breed's debut album were (appropriately) moderately high, however the band successfully smashes through the barrier of pre-established anticipation with a compilation of solid rock in the same vibe of that found throughout what is considered to be the "classic rock" classification.
Selections such as "Sweet Tea" are heavily representative of the performance captured throughout these twelve new recordings. Set to the pace of a crushing percussion section, soon we find ourselves caught amongst the tidal waves of Glenn Hughes' impressively preserved primal screams and the concrete guitar work of Andrew Watt. Consider bringing the sound of The Rolling Stones to present day and attributing light elements of a modern approach and current production, and you have a pretty good idea of what California Breed capture here.
"The Way" allows Hughes to simply take command, while a solid rhythm section supports his atmospheric singing range. "Midnight Oil" doesn't exactly match these same musical feats, instead featuring a suppressed Hughes hidden in the mix beneath Bonham's crushing style and a wall of guitar chords, however is still a noteworthy track all the same. You would be pressed to find that many slow paced tracks here, as even songs like "Days They Come" at first appear to be a middle-of-the-album breather, however soon take off with a surplus of vocal melody and burst of lighthearted distortion.
Lyrics — 8
The reliably consistent performance from Glenn Hughes never ceases to amaze throughout California Breed's debut. While the fact that Hughes can still reach the same screams and high harmonies as he did more than four decades ago with funk rock pioneers Trapeze shouldn't be surprising to established listeners, however it remains an applaudable feature. Hughes' performance is more in line with his work with Deep Purple as opposed to the short-lived moment in Black Sabbath or Trapeze, however his range and preserved tone tie all of these periods together, so regardless of where you know him from, you'll be able to relate to these songs.
Overall Impression — 8
In short, California Breed execute a heavily enjoyable performance with their self-titled debut studio album. Boasting a revitalized classic rock approach driven by exemplary musicianship and well known names from the genre, this debut comes warmly recommended to any familiar listener, while the songs have the potential to appeal to rock fans in general.