Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: Great White “Elation”

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…along comes Great White’s 12th studio album, “Elation”. While Great White is best known for their 80s hits “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, “Rock Me”, “Save Your Love”, and “Call It Rock N Roll”, the band has been quietly churning out records regularly, featuring their trademark blues-tinged rock.

It can be argued that “Elation” is not really a Great White album – the band decided to record without founding member and distinctive vocalist Jack Russell while he was ill. Instead, XYZ singer Terry Ilous has stepped up to the mic. “This is a new birth of the band,” drummer Audie Desbrow says. “I wanted to call the album ‘Tabula Rasa’ which means rebirth, but we went for ‘Elation’ because of the euphoria in the atmosphere. It’s a fresh and healthier start than ever before. I’m like a kid in a candy store.” I’m not privy to all the politics of the band, so I’ll just comment on what I am qualified to talk about: the music.

First, I’d argue the record retains a great deal of the Great White sound despite the change in lead vocalist. Ilous is a fine lead singer and his tone fits into the band’s bluesy rock groove better than I expected. Another distinctive feature of Great White has always been Mark Kendall’s guitar licks, and they are front and center on “Elation”.

The record starts with “(I’ve Got) Something For You” – the song features some sizzling riffs and leads, but is kind of a lackluster beginning. “Feelin’ So Much Better” isn’t so much better, but at least has a somewhat memorable chorus. “Heart Of A Man” is a decent mid-tempo cut and the driving tale of “Shotgun Willie’s” is pretty good. Unfortunately, too many songs are way too long and just ramble into nowhere – the worst offenders being “Love Train”, “Resolution”, and “Lowdown”, which is probably the worst song Great White has ever done.

Overall, any euphoria the band experienced making this record doesn’t translate into “elation” - it’s pressing it just to call this record “nice”. A handful of tracks are fair to good, but too many are a chore to get through.

Great White – Official site.

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