The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
CALIFORNIA BREED album review 2014



California Breed


MAY 16 2014




Release dates: EU : May 16th 2014 | NA: May 20th 2014

Tracklisting: The Way; Sweet Tea; Chemical Rain; Midnight Oil; All Falls Down; The Grey; Days They Come; Spit You Out; Strong; Invisible; Scars; Breathe; Solo (Bonus Track).
Bonus DVD content: Sweet Tea (videoclip); The Way (videoclip); Documentary “Making of the videos and EPK”.


Talk about nailing an opening! The Glenn Hughes vocal that smashes in over the heavy riff of opening track ‘The Way’ is stunning. We all know the man can sing but does he really need to lift the bar that impossibly high? If you thought you had heard real Rock from Black Country Communion I have to honestly tell you to sit down and strap in for this one.  ‘The Way’ is rock the way it should be: crashing drums, lead-heavy bass groove and guitars that bite hard and don’t stop. And this is only the beginning!


‘Sweet Tea’ that you have probably all heard by now has a similarly huge groove and outstanding vocal, but allows the guitar to rip through the groove to show why Andrew Watt is such an integral part of this set up along with Bonham (who has never sounded better) and Hughes. ‘Chemical Rain’ that follows ups the guitar further on a song that has both a Zeppelin-like quality and a hypnotic groove that sweeps your feet from beneath you. To be blunt I don’t think I have ever heard a vocal performance like this and we are only three songs in. If ever you were looking for an album to re-kindle your love of Hard Rock this is one that will make it burst into flames.


The opening to ‘Midnight Oil’ will have you thinking again of Zeppelin, but the song slides and burns and grooves and turns till you’re dizzy as it echoes The Stones with a wonderfully soulful  female backing vocal that just highlights the depth here.  Taking it down a notch ‘All Falls Down’ underlines that versatility and brings the sweet blues, teary-eyed to the banquet table, Ronson would be proud.


‘The Grey’ injects back the urgency, but it’s a song that has a modern edge, almost dark at the edges, driving and essential. It’s the angriest we get here and simply stunning. ‘Days They Come’ brings a light that suddenly bursts into flames; and ‘Spit You Out’ is a real surprise almost poppy at the onset, but with a real bluesy groove as the song progresses, it’s the sort of song that gives credence to Hughes assertion that this simply isn’t JUST a Classic Rock album.


As the album progresses it gets more experimental, so much so it leaves you wide-eyed in wonder about the possibilities this band has to offer. ‘Strong’ starts with a strummed acoustic and creates an atmosphere that allows the band to explore and shine, held together with a powerful vocal and equally strong riff. It’s the most esoteric song here, but in a good way, and makes you wonder where this could all lead. ‘Invisible’ on the other hand is a huge beast of a song, full of space and with a mystic vibe and incredible sound. It’s a song that could be unimaginably powerful live, with some unearthly guitar, and immense drums: the sort of song you don’t want to end. ‘Scars’ hits a groove running as the guitar wails and bass sets the pace. It’s a foot-stomper, born of the Blues with a raw vocal that can’t fail but to set your hair on end. Closer ‘Breathe’ does just that, gives you time to catch your breath, before it throws you into the air again. Opening with acoustic guitar, it’s at it’s heart a ballad, that builds into an epic, all lean and muscular, with wails and cascading guitar before it eases out again with just the acoustic. What an album…   


The stunning thing about California Breed is that is that they manage not only to create an incomparable Hard Rock album, but that they manage to make it sound so absolutely essential. And no, this doesn’t sound like an album looking back and recapturing the spirit of days gone by, this is an album to move us all forwards, as Hughes himself said “It’s proper rock, but at the same time it’s very now”. And that’s the magic of it all.


If this is what California Breed has to offer there’s a very real danger that the world is going to fall in love with Hard Rock all over again. After decades in the shade Rock has risen again, bigger and stronger than ever before. This is the album of year, any year…


Footnote: If I could force just one album into the X-Box and mobile-phone shaped hands of the youth of the world this is the one…

Glenn Hughes: vocals, bass guitar
Jason Bonham: drums
Andrew Watt: guitars

Produced by Dave Cobb



by Mark Diggins


CALIFORNIA BREED album review 2014