Kickhunter - 'Southern Kicks'

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Kickhunter - 'Southern Kicks'

There is actually much to savour here

A trio of Southern Rock related releases have come my way this issue, the first of which is German outfit Kickhunter. It’s difficult to find up-to-date information on the band, even from their own website, but from what I can gather they have been active since 2000 and have a decent following, having also shared stages with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet and Deep Purple and at some point even included Helloween bassist Marcus Großkopf within their ranks.

‘Southern Kicks’ is album number five from the band. At sixteen tracks, with a fair few around the five or six minute mark, it’s a rather time-consuming effort to digest the lot in one sitting, there are two or three songs here that could easily be culled and certainly would not be missed, particularly those with a reliance on a Bar-Room style with an abundance of Honky-Tonk piano (‘Shy Shy Shy’ and ‘Smile Smile Smile’ being the two biggest culprits). Also, the rather obtuse Country-flavoured cover of Status Quo’s ‘Caroline’ is about as welcome as the Ku Klux Klan at a Soul-singers convention. Front-man Jörg Wesenberg has a deep raspy voice that mostly stays within his capabilities, however obvious vocal limitations are exposed on the early Eagles-like ‘Call My Name’.

But if you think my bias is veering too much towards the negative, there is actually much to savour here, the bulk of which are the straight-ahead Rock ‘n’ Roll numbers with the Skynyrd style Southern slant that also features twin female backing vocals. Guitarists Stefan Aurel and Rollie Feldmann are given free rein with extended solo spots on the likes of the excellent ‘Walls’ and the slow-burning ‘Child Of Love’, but in particular it’s the slower songs ‘Let It Shine’, ‘Feels Like Home’ and ‘Good To Be Alive’ that I feel is where Kickhunter’s strengths lie.

Ant Heeks

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