Sully Erna – ‘Hometown Life’ (BMG) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 04:20

Sully Erna - Hometown LifeIn 2010, Godsmack frontman, Sully Erna, surprised the mainstream rock world with the release of his captivating solo debut, ‘Avalon’. The album not only shone a greater light on Sully’s considerable musical ability, but also showed his skills at production duties.

 

‘Avalon’ was in many ways a far cry from Godsmack’s more one-dimensional approach to modern hard rock; incorporating elements of world music, as well as lyrically delving into the singer’s Wiccan beliefs more overtly. Although Godsmack returned to the daily grind of album/touring cycles, the potential for a solo follow-up from Sully was an intriguing one.

 

And so, now we have ‘Hometown Life’; a sophomore release that more than delivers on the promise of its predecessor.

 

The opening title track is a bold introduction: a pseudo-country ballad from a lyrical perspective, there is an underlying sinister quality provided by the thunderous minor piano chords, evocative of ‘70s stadium rock. However, Sully is working with a much broader palette to let this track be ultimately indicative of the album as a whole. The muted brass section and picked acoustic on ‘Don’t Comfort Me’ has a sombre, lamenting tone as if sound tracking a Sergio Leone spaghetti western, à la Metallica’s ‘Unforgiven’ trilogy. These styles are perfectly suited to Sully’s weathered, whiskey-tinged delivery, best showcased on ‘Different Kind Of Tears.’ Should Tom Waits ever choose to cover a Garth Brooks ballad, one would imagine it would strongly resemble this heart-wrenching little number.

 

‘Hometown Life’ continues to develop the more experimental ideas found in Sully’s back catalogue, for instance, the eastern instrumentation on ‘Father Of Time’, providing a nice variation towards the back end of the record. Similarly, the Rob Thomas-esque ‘Your Own Drum’ is a (slightly cheesy) motivational anthem, driven by a wide range of world percussion.

 

However, the piѐce de résistance is undoubtedly the show-stopping ‘Turn It Up!’ Incorporating elements of Motown, jazz and some exquisite blues guitar licks, this track explodes thanks to its exhilarating transitions from the slinking, back beat verses to the brazen horn section of the chorus (which features the artist’s own father). A wonderfully unexpected centrepiece to the album, this is quite frankly the most impressive thing Sully has ever publicly released.

 

 

Continuing right where he left off last time, ‘Hometown Life’ is a further revelation of Sully’s artistic influences, as well as a testament to his own capability as a musician in his own right. Free from the restrictions of his day-job, there is an impressive musical literacy to be found from start to finish.

 

Despite all of the genre-hopping, ‘Hometown Life’ comes together as a commendably cohesive piece, which can only leave you hoping that Godsmack decide to take more frequently occurring breaks.

 

‘Hometown Life’ is released on Friday (29 September). You can get your copy HERE.

 

Sully Erna plays the Assembly Hall in Islington on Sunday (1 October).

 

www.facebook.com/Sully.Erna/

 

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