Chris Ousey (vocals) “deeply soulful – exorbitant – completely addictive…”

Originally founded in 2011 by former members of WhitesnakeSnakecharmer is a super-group that is made up from some of the best musicians in this country with Micky Moody and Neil Murray (Whitesnake) Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash), Harry James (Thunder) and Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne) and Chris Ousey (Heartland.)

"Keyboards glide like butter into the folds of the song..."
“Keyboards glide like butter into the folds of the song…”

The band have now issued their self-titled début album – released on Frontiers Records and recorded at Liscombe Park Studios.

We had a listen:

Melodic ‘My Angel‘ begins with a voice that is irresistibly tense –  fanned out against some skilful acoustic guitar.

Soon the main sounds chug in … and we are greeted by a very pleasant “You’re my Angel…” sing-along chorus.

During the bridge,  the Wakeman keyboards glide like butter into the folds of the song – and then a magnificent guitar solo oozes out  – followed by another burst of sparkling sound. This is a wonderful track.

Accident Prone’ steps along stridently, with plenty of honeydew organ and lustrous grinding guitars.

It actually sounds like a Terry Britten number (but written by Wisefield and Ousey ) and is a song about shaking the blues away …  it is dramatic, impulsive and full of irresistible momentum.

To The Rescue’ simmers like a steaming jambalaya – the sweet notes of organ wisp around the heart-rending voices – the pulsating riffs stabilise gradually and, soon enough, you’ll be boogying  to the beat.

Laurie Wisefield -Guitars - "A golden guitar decorates the darkness..."
Laurie Wisefield -Guitars – “A golden guitar decorates the darkness…”

Blues-based ‘Falling Leaves’ is full of intrigue. A golden guitar decorates the darkness, as the suffering voice of Ousey bleats out in futile desperation.

This song will capture your heart. And trammel it like a cheap sponge.

A Little Rock & Roll’ sounds like something that 1970’s Zeppelin has been grappling with.

And‘Smoking Gun’ really reminded us of something by the British progressive rock act Warhorse (the Ashley Holt incarnation)  … it will tingle the toes of any Wakeman fans out there – and it’s our favourite track on the album.

It’s deeply soulful, full of lively rhythms,  and it flaunts a melody-line that is as exorbitant as it is completely addictive.

But I can imagine that most people will choose ‘Stand Up’ as their favourite track on this convincing album. This James/Ousey number is like all your best 1980’s moments rolled into one.  It is wildly poetic, and is full of wild-hot, sky-high guitars that fly up to temporarily dazzle you. It’s perfect stuff!

Micky Moody - Guitar "twists like a spinning top..."
Micky Moody – Guitar “twists like a spinning top…”

With a twanging intro that reflects the words, the next song ‘Guilty As Charged’ is about confessing to mistakes and purifying oneself through open-armed admission.

The guitar solo twists like a spinning top halfway through this heart-aching song …  but you will feel gladdened by the encouraging rhythms and the confident attitude of the pace.

The album ends with the catchy ‘Cover Me In You’ – this is a joyful, soulful number – and it shines with high quality, multi-layered musicality.

If there can be any criticism – any at all – it could be that some of the songs on this thorougly enjoyable album are perhaps a little too ‘radio-friendly and ‘commercial’ for the tastes of some young music lovers out there … some of the songs are clearly written for the benefit of a past generation of rockers who still want to live their best years. But what’s the harm in that?

But the quality and competence here is undeniable. And anyone with a beating heart and a brain in their skull will find something here that can be rapturously enjoyed and emphatically celebrated.

@neilmach © 2013
All live images by @neilmach