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




MARCH 30 2014



From the ‘Easy listening’ lyrical dexterity of title track ‘Big Appetite’ through the Bluesy stomp of ‘Said the Spider to the Fly’ Chris Gibbs’ latest solo album has a lot going on and a distinctly laid-back ‘West Coast’ AOR vibe.


The clear summer sky feeling which rushes over you when you listen to ‘Take on the World’ (one of our picks of the album), captures some of the great strengths Gibbs has accumulated over the years: it’s a hearty dose of seventies singer-songwriter AOR with a slick solo, and the immediacy that you only get through years of practicing your art.


The Joe Jackson meets Elvis Costello of ‘Separate Ways’ which has a cheeky almost country refrain is another gentle reminder that rock doesn’t have to be turned to ten to have impact. And whilst the jazzy lounge lizard ‘Room for Everyone’ with smoky sax may not be to my particular taste it still feels at home here.


The Whitesnake-lite groove that underpins ‘Wrong side of the Tracks’ which is perhaps the ‘Rockiest’ track here, is wonderfully delicate and another real standout, lifting its head gracefully with a perfectly fitting solo and studied vocal. ‘Lover’s Last Embrace’ on the other hand might start out with harp that makes you think of Dylan, but slips effortlessly into a gentle singer-songwriter acoustic strummed ballad that hits all the right notes.       


The West Coast AOR vibe is thickest perhaps on the last few tracks:  ‘Don’t Count Him Out’ has an inch perfect soulful groove and strummed refrain, with crisp vocals which are lifted by the smooth female vocal underneath. The solo has the wings required to just push it over the edge. There is also the masterful ‘News of the day’ which continues that vibe, it’s a light ‘LA morning by the beach’ of a song that delivers that shot of simpler times living life slow.


This is a very light album, whose very low-key nature allows individual tracks to creep up on you. It’s consummate song writing if you like that light pastel-painted West Coast style, with subtle infusions of pop and rock and blues to add texture. Whilst you can never really pin down an album like this it’s certainly something that fans of Steely Dan, Stephan Bishop, TOTO, and maybe even George Benson and Jeff Porcaro would enjoy.


Chris Gibbs’ Big Appetite CD launch takes place on Sunday 30 March 2014 at The Indi Bar Scarbrough.



by Mark Diggins