|Snakecharmer - ‘Snakecharmer’ (Frontiers Records)|
|Written by Jim Rowland|
|Tuesday, 22 January 2013 03:00|
Snakecharmer can probably be seen as a bit of a ‘supergroup’, perhaps not of the A-list calibre of say Chickenfoot, Black Country Communion or Flying Colors, but a solid ‘B-list’ collection of old hands of the British rock scene.
Centred around classic era Whitesnake members Micky Moody and Neil Murray, Snakecharmer also features Harry James (Thunder/Magnum), Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash) and Adam Wakeman (Ozzy/Headspace), with vocals being handled by former Heartland and Virginia Wolf vocalist Chris Ousey. With Moody and Murray’s Whitesnake connections, the band toured a little while ago as Monsters Of British Rock, wisely ditching that name for the much improved Snakecharmer, and were initially largely a Whitesnake tribute act, knocking out all the best tunes from the original, and best, era of Whitesnake, before Coverdale shed that classic band in favour of big hair and over production.
This self-titled debut sees the ‘charmers pool their undoubted collective talents to come up with eleven new tunes, allowing them to move away from the “Whitesnake tribute” tag and stand on their own twelve feet. So is ‘Snakecharmer’ going to be a saint or a sinner?
Well on the whole, Snakecharmer have come up with a pretty impressive slice of classic rock on this album. Inevitably there’s going to be an old Whitesnake vibe to some of the tunes here, and sure enough you could imagine old Cov the Gov belting out the likes of ‘Turn Of The Screw’, ‘Guilty As Charged’, ‘Nothing To Lose’ and especially the impressive ‘Smoking Gun’. It’s not all a ‘snake fest though. Chris Ousey’s vocal style lends itself particularly well to hard AOR, Foreigner-esque tracks like ‘Accident Prone’ and the AOR-tastic ‘Stand Up’.
The power ballad ‘Falling Leaves’ doesn’t work so well, and with ‘To The Rescue’ the band attempt a Bad Company style bluesy boogie that comes out more like a slightly dodgy Rod Stewart track. With the excellent ‘A Little Rock and Roll’, however, they hit the Bad Company vibe right on the head and this is one of the album’s real highlights. Perhaps best of all is the belting opening cut ‘My Angel’, combining an element of classic Whitesnake with the vibe of the Joe Perry Project’s excellent debut album (in fact the riff here bares quite a resemblance to that album’s ‘Discount Dogs’).
So barring a couple of near misses, Snakecharmer’s debut is a winner, and much better than I would have expected. If you’re a fan of melodic classic rock, blues rock or harder edged AOR, you’ll certainly be charmed by this snake, so ‘come ‘an get it’.