Glenn Hughes is quite rightly filled with pride and enthusiasm about this power-house trio that will release their debut album full of groove, hard rock and energy on May 19, 2014. The opening song tells you what this album has hidden within as The Way rolls along on an urgent riff, and punches the ears of those who witness its majesty. Joining Hughes on this venture is drumming mainstay Jason Bonham and to most ears a new kid on the block; Andrew Watt is only 23 years old but is pushed to new horizons by a hyped up Hughes.
There are many gems on this wonderful album, produced by the ever-growing portfolio of Dave Cobb, best known as the fifth member of the Rival Sons family. Golden nuggets in the shape of Sweet Tea, Midnight Oil and All Falls Down present a band in full flow exploring their combined parameters. The latter of these three reaches out with tenderness and an immediate hook whilst the preceding two titles are upbeat rockers exhibiting a firm grasp of the bounce and zest that make them so likeable.
Chemical Rain is full of bombast and bravado towards the end, but loses a little of the magic that might have made this something classic. Meanwhile Spit You Out has a fun sparkle in its eyes and carries a cheeky swagger to boot. Ditching keys and ramping up the guitar, California Breed is not to be compared with Black Country Communion. If anything, this is Hughes approaching the hard rock sound of the past and injecting some fresh interest.
Producer Cobb and bassist/vocalist Hughes were on the same page to reap these results as Days They Come mixes a familiar heavy lumbering riff with moments of elegance perhaps a little reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, then the song hits you with an infectious “Going down – going down – going down – going down” chorus. On reflection it is hardly innovative, but it is vital if you’re a fan of classy rock music.
Avoid this release at your peril, because if you need something new for your music collection then this is an album that will entertain immediately in conjunction with offering new pearls of quality. Hughes hasn’t sounded so vocally strong and relevant as he does on this album, and it may be purely the man tapping his pool of experiences over the decades, or it might be that he is genuinely buzzing on conviction and self-belief in California Breed. Either way, he is doing it for the music and he is enjoying it big time.