Sound — 7
By now, we know what to expect from the Cat in the Hat. Slash's new album is bluesy, punky, rock, metal. And even grunge. The band sound generally tight, if a little unsure of each other. Whilst there is a definite improvement over the previous album in having a single singer, it is evident this is very much a Slash fronted band. He may not sing, but it's certainly all his call. There are some shining moments. The song's "Anastasia" (beginning with a lovely flamenco acoustic riff and slamming into one of the hottest songs on the record), "Bad Rain" (funky, grungey riffs throughout, that command headbanging) and "Far And Away" (the stand out ballad on the album, slow, with reserved vocal delivery and singing solos) are the stand out best songs on the entire record. Unfortunately, the majority of the others are generic ones, that could easily slot into any of Slash's former projects.
Lyrics — 4
The majority of the lyrics seem rather... clich. As you listen to them, it's rather difficult to discern what Mr Kennedy is singing, and the majority of the choruses on the album leave you feeling disappointed, rather than wanting to pump your fist and belt along with it. There are even times on the album (e.g. in the song "One Last Thrill") where Kennedy seems to struggle to fit the lyrics into the fast paced nature of the verses, as if there are too many words in too short a space. Skill wise, Kennedy is good. Damn good, at times. When he sings on the ballads, he gives a raw, emotional window to his soul that just compliments the nature of the songs so perfectly. When he sings on the faster songs, he blisters. If he's singing as himself. Unfortunately, there are a number of times wherein he sounds like he is attempting to channel a certain Bill Bailey. It's as if he was desperate to please his boss, by being the one thing his boss is sick of.
Overall Impression — 5
There is no way, when reviewing an album by our favourite export from Stoke On Trent, that we can escape his former bands. His style is so integral in those previous records, its obviously going to be evident on any album he puts out. This, however, is disappointing. One would hope, with a new band behind him, and a new singer, that he may have progressed and expanded on to newer pastures. There are great moments on this record. But there a lot more bad moments too. Which is unfortunate. I am a life-long fan of Guns N' Roses and Slash too. I am, however, disappointed by this offering by the venerable Mr. Hudson. With all the hype, I was expecting a great, varied, evolutionary album. What I heard, though, was GN'R Lite.