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Glenn hughes: Songs in the key of Rock
(Shrapnel - 2003)
Category : none
3,5 stars

Glenn Hughes of course is no stranger to anyone who is at least a bit interested in the history of Heavy Rock. As vocalist and/or bassist he spent time in important Hard Rock bands such as Trapeze, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, so if his name doesn't ring a bell, you're either very young or simply braindead. This, his fifth or so solo album, was released at about the same time as HTP's second album (HTP stands for 'Hughes Turner Project', which is a similar sounding project he started with ex-Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner). Apparently Mr. Hughes didn't seem to be showing signs of fatigue just yet.

So how does this solo offering sound? Actually, it's exactly what one could have expected since it's completely in line with what the man had been doing throughout his entire carreer. It's melodic Hard Rock, complete with that Moog organ which gives it a really vintage 70's feel. Of course, it being the year 2003, the overall sound is quite a lot fuller as is proven straight from track one by the uptempo Hard Rock song 'In my blood'.

Following is 'Lost in the Zone', which sounds like a runaway Bad Company cut. Hughes powerful and versatily vocals make this song work to the full. Any lesser a vocalist and we'd just have a cliché track on our hands. 'Gasoline' is another uptempo hard rocker and this time you'd swear you were listening to 'Stormbringer'-era Deep Purple.

Overall 'Songs in the key of Rock' has enough variation to keep things interesting. The tracks vary from quite energetic Hard Rock ('In my Blood', 'Gasoline' and especially 'Standing on the Rock') to more laid back material such as 'Higher places', the funky 'Get you stoned' or 'Courageous' with its Steely Dan-like chorus and fluent subdued guitar solo. Of course an album like this, which derives heavily from 70's and early 80's Hard Rock isn't devoid of clichés, but nevertheless there are no really weak or bland tracks on it. Well, actually the choruses of the bonus track 'Change' and of 'Whenever you go' aren't particularly engaging and the semi-ballad 'The Truth' is at times verging in the border of cheesiness, but that's about it. The fact that these three tracks are all at the end of the CD ('Change' is even labelled as a bonus) suggests that I am not the only one who has spotted some weaknesses in them. Yet, the overall very decent quality of the album, and of course Glenn Hughes' unique voice, should be enough to pull any fan of melodic vintage Hard Rock over the line.

My favourite track on this album: 'Courageous'.


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