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

Joe Perry

Have Guitar Will Travel

Joe Perry is one of the world's coolest guitarists in one of the world's greatest bands. Solo away from the rocking and rolling monster that is Aerosmith things are different.

I love the anticipation of a Joe Perry album. I found a lot to like in the original Joe Perry Project trilogy but must admit I preferred the Perry-less Aerosmith’s Rock in A Hard Place all the same. Back in 2005 when Joe's first 'real' solo album came out the wait was excruciating but when the CD arrived I felt a little let down.

Before I put this in the player I hoped that it would be more 'Project' than the 2005 release and more bluesy than latter day Aerosmith. But I've been burnt before.

The first thing that strikes you as Long Way To Go kicks in is that you will either love or hate Hagan’s vocals; but even if it’s the latter, Joe gets to sing on 4 of the tracks and Wooden Ships is an instrumental.

The opening track starts off very strangely, an old riff that opens up into an almost eighties sequenced synth intro before it kicks in. It's a rolling, rocking, high paced number that almost hints at U2 in places. I was kind of caught off guard from the off with the unexpected sound and I really found myself both enjoying it and the unexpected nature of the song. So far so good.

Ahh 'Slingshot' the blues guitar, the piano, the groove, the lyrics... but again there's a twist the echoed vocals are almost a throwback to some of the alternative rock sounds that were coming out of the UK in the early 80s.

THIS IS PROVING TO BE AN UNEXPECTED FIRST LISTEN.

Do You Wonder - acoustic, rambling eastern bass, chiming guitar, there's an almost Hendrix-like vibe merged with the Eagles if you can imagine that, but the song breaks into the closet to Aerosmith we find here. Someone's Gonna Get (Their Head Kicked In Tonight) – is surf guitar, it works as a novelty.

Heaven and Hell – has more space sounds from the synth, almost like the lyrics and guitar part don't quite meld, spookily again it has that almost Punk/Goth alternative feel. The only quibble is that it drags on and it’s not that strong a song to take the weight of the break down.

THIS IS NOT A SAFE ALBUM OF BLUES STANDARDS.

No Surprise - Is not the Aerosmith song of the same name and starts out like a jam with a rock and roll vocal. Like Steve Earle grabbed Elvis and shook him until these sounds came out. Then we come to the instrumental - Wooden Ships – which has a distinctly modern almost-funk-rock intro and ends up sounding like a soundtrack piece, it’s a pleasing enough instrumental with some lovely guitar work.

JOE PERRY SHOWS A DIVERSE PAIR OF HEELS TO THE REST OF THE BAND

Oh Lord (21 Grams) - makes you feel that someone has been listening to Nick Cave albums: a flickering semi-acoustic guitar flows over a repeated mantra. It's a cool idea but feels unfinished.

Scare the Cat – is a solid rocker, perhaps closer to what I had expected. However again it suffers from repetition. Lyrically this isn’t one of the greatest. Freedom – the final track again has some great guitars but lyrically disappears through the cracks.

I DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS THE SOUND OF EXPERIMENTATION OR BOREDOM OR JUST A MAN WITH A GREAT HOME STUDIO.

I would be perhaps harsh to say that this does sound like it was recorded in a home studio by a man with time on his hands? What I wish is that a little more time had gone into the songs rather than spent on getting new sounds into the mix. Some of these songs as ideas are genuinely good it's just that I feel the album would have benefited from a little more outside input and a few ideas on the progression of some songs. Saying that, there are some things to like here, particularly the opening two numbers.

Mark