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Graham Bonnet Band - 'Meanwhile, Back In The Garage' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/8b/db/76/graham-bonnet-band-back-in-the-garage-25-1530112459.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 27, 2018    
 
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This spectacular album proves 'The Book' was not a fluke.

The Graham Bonnet Band have capitalised on the success of their first album, 'The Book', and Graham Bonnet's triumphant contribution to the Michael Schenker Fest by quickly following up with 'Meanwhile, Back In The Garage'.

Bonnet has continued his habit of writing songs that are a bit off-kilter to the normal Rock topics, this time covering a multitude of subjects such as gun law, reincarnation and death. In conjunction with this atypical subject matter, the music is not quite solely Hard Rock and not quite Progressive – instead, it's a platter of interesting heavy-ish tracks featuring Bonnet's unmistakable voice. The album certainly rings of the Yngwie Malmsteen period Neo-Classical Alcatrazz with the guitars from Joey Tafolla being top-drawer (the opening track actually features a solo that the Alcatrazz alumni would be proud of). There are riffs galore (e.g. on 'Incest Outcest U.S.A.' and the Steve Vai-esque 'The House') to add weight to the Alcatrazz reference; certainly, the change of pace and unusual verse patterns hark back to those days.

Bonnet has mentioned that he sees Russ Ballard as his talisman since the success in 1979 of 'Since You Been Gone', (the solo hit that never was), 'S.O.S.' and minor hit 'Liar'. In recent years, Ballard supplied the epic 'My Kingdom Come' which became the first official release from the Graham Bonnet Band. To keep the tradition going, Ballard has penned the killer track 'Livin' In Suspicion' and if this was thirty years ago, it would have been a hit! The album also contains a cover in the shape of 'We Don't Need Another Hero' which, although a slightly strange choice, actually comes over pretty well.

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Throughout, guitarist Tafolla spices up the album as his fast and bright playing adds to the songs without dominating them, while Kurt James supplies adept guitar work in the aforementioned 'Livin' In Suspicion'. Major kudos must go to fellow Alcatrazz-ian Jimmy Waldo with the keyboards being very up-front in the mix, thus providing that special touch to proceedings. The energetic rhythm pairing of Mark Benquechea and Beth-Ami Heavenstone create the bedrock for the at times complex songs to take shape.

As for Bonnet's voice, it is instantly recognisable; anyone who knows Bonnet in the studio will testify that he gives his all and this comes over on this album, which is an astonishing fifty years after his first hit – 'Only One Woman'. The power is still there, but he knows how to control it during the quieter parts (like the start to the big ballad 'The Crying Chair').

This spectacular album proves 'The Book' was not a fluke; with another tour of the UK this summer, the Graham Bonnet Band are certainly here for some time to come.

Rob McKenzie

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