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

BRUCE KULICK

BK3

When I first heard the title I thought that a certain burger chain had launched a new triple-decker sandwich, but the new album by Bruce Kulick is far more palatable.

Bruce as I am sure you will be aware used to play for a little known band from New York called Kiss.


I imagine that connection is more of a blessing than a curse, though it does beg the question how would this go down outside Kiss circles. We have certainly been blessed in recent months with releases by Kiss, Ace Frehley and now hot on the heels of both comes Bruce's third solo album. We've also been lucky enough 'down under' to see both Bruce and Kiss in the last month, and an Australian tour by Kiss looks likely to be announced shortly.

 

To start with I am not even going to compare it with either of those other releases, or throw in a BK resume. What I can say is that this is probably Bruce's best work outside of Kiss and the underrated Union, certainly his best solo effort. Where the album loses me a little is in it's lack of cohesion. As we would say downunder it's a bit of a 'bitsa' ( a bit of this, a bit of that). So if you are prepared to take each song on it's merits rather than look at this as a collection you will be fine. The varying styles of the songs here mean that if you are looking for a definitive BK 'sound' you are out of luck as there are many, call it versatility, and if you like the idea of a showcase then you are in for a treat.

 

Where to start? With the pop songs maybe? With Gene Simmons and son Nick? With a run down of the guests? There's certainly a lot to talk about. To be perfectly honest BK3 is a mixed bag. In parts it's wonderful and in others it is a little confusing. It's fine if Bruce wants to play some pop songs but that's not really my thing. Songs like 'Dirty Girl' though sound just as good as stuff in the charts today and actually work quite well. However other 'lighter' efforts like "Final Mile", again are well enough constructed but not what you would expect from a rock album. I actually found that one a bit dull, but the guitar was nice.

 

Where the album does work particularly well is on some of the rockier songs and it's a shame that Bruce hasn't developed some of the themes or sounds of some of the harder songs here. The opening song "Fate" is a case in point and possibly the heaviest song on offer. It's a modern sound, darker than you might expect but when the chorus riff comes in you know he's got something. The great shame is that there's really not a lot much like it on the album.

 

The thought of Gene Simmons never dying may be a bit scary but it's only a lyric: "Ain't Gonna Die" is a true Simmons song, strangely better than anything he contributed to Kiss' latest release and with some nice 'essence of Beatles' thrown in. "No friend of Mine" featuring John Corabi is one of the best tracks here, has hints of "Carnival of Souls" and is an almost Union reunion. It would be great to hear more in this vein, I know Bruce has plenty to keep him occupied these days, but surely it's worth another go?

 

Then comes the track that people seem to be talking about Mr Simmons Jr, Nick on "Hand of the King" it's a good song nice and heavy lyrically the imagery of crawling over the dead bodies to get to the top is interesting and there's a great groove but there's just something missing that I can't quite put my finger on that stops it from being an instant classic, great song tough.

 

The rest of the album is a little more varied. "I'll Survive" about Bruce getting shot in Hollywood is a nicely paced reflective sound-scape. "I'm the Animal" is a good solid modern rock song. The run out though is a little bit of an anti-climax, there's a distinctly alt-pop flavoured "All I know"; an instrumental "Between the Lines" a little funky workout featuring Steve Lukather. "Life" the closer is rather like an 90's alt-rock infused, Lou Reed tinged paean to well, um life...

 

I actually like this album a lot more each time I hear it, but I find it hard to tell from this which direction Mr Kulick is headed in. Keep making great music Bruce, see you next time you're down-under.

 

Mark