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Rex Brown - 'Smoke On This' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/8a/63/d4/rex-brown-smoke-on-this-1-1516737852.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 23, 2018    
 
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The solo debut from Rex Brown, former bassist of Pantera.

When an album comes pressed on clear vinyl with black streaks, you guess it's making a statement; bringing meaning to a new game – judging an album by the colour of its vinyl.

The solo debut from Rex Brown, former bassist of Pantera, the "seasoned troubadour from down South with a rich, colourful life experience" sees him moving forward by taking a step back. With the mission to "shake some shit up", his brotherly relationship with collaborator/guitarist Lance Harvill, and with Christopher Williams on drums, make for a potent trio.

If the opening track should set a tone, 'Lone Rider' is a mouth-watering aperitif of Hard Rock with a tinge of Blues. An offer (you wouldn't refuse) to "smoke on this", with an added dash of Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders/Ricky Warwick-ness, it sets up an expectation of no nonsense, no compromise yet melodic riffage. No surprise either that the line "I'll take whatever I want" makes an appearance. The first of several nods to some of the greats, a lumbering AC/DC styled riff sets up 'Crossing Lines' before some Country Blues acoustic might suggest Brown has been soaking up the vibes on a cowboy trail blazed by Richie Sambora, punctuated by a Guns 'N' Roses danger swagger and over revved amps. Listen carefully and you might just hear the fizz of the vales.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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An impressive opening gambit and an equally impressive transition to guitar, Brown may not be the most technically gifted player but he maintains a raw and organic feel.
Of course, you're waiting for the moment when the pace slows, but when it does, the swirling slide-drenched maelstrom conjured up on 'Get Yourself Alright' is a sonic delight, and paired with 'Fault Line' and its Psych Country, sub Beatles/John Lennon influence shows that 'Smoke On This' is more than a one trick pony.

On the down side, there are a couple of weaker moments which lapse into an unfamiliar syrupy sentimentality, very heartfelt and clearly not something you'd anticipate (enough reason to include 'Grace' for example), but something helped by a flick of the CD scanner button. After a thunderous first half, the fire burns not quite as brightly, more like glowing embers, with a more subdued feel to the outro sequence of songs.

'Smoke On This' might not be the most original album released this year but it unmistakably delivers a memorable and tasty hit soaked in authentic values.

Mike Ainscoe

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