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Little Caesar - 'Redemption' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/90/73/5d/146_LittleCaesarRedemption_1267027197.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     February 24, 2010    
 
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Comeback album by the soulful rockers.

 

Like with the bulk of the bands in my collection, I ended up discovering them from another band, usually long after everybody else (blame it on my youth!) and usually I’m the kiss of death and they break up. As a fan of all things Whitesnake, I bought the Manic Eden project which featured the ‘Slip Of The Tongue’ era line up (sans Vai) and a smokey voiced singer called Ron Young. I liked Young’s work, wondered who he was, and was led to a bunch of guys who had a biker image, yet played more in the style of Bad Company and ZZ Top, with a bit of motown soul thrown in. They were Little Caesar, and I loved them. They made a nice E.P. called ‘Name Your Poison’, and followed up with their first album which had some killer songs on it. The harder rocking ‘Influence’ came next, and then that was an end to it, hence Ron’s brief run with Manic Eden.

2009 has been a great year for comebacks, especially for my taste, and Little Caesar have also returned. With shorter hair but original members to the fore, ‘Redemption’ carried some big expectations for me. It doesn’t QUITE meet them, but the pros outweigh the cons.

‘Same Old Story’ opens the album, which actually appeared on ‘This Time It’s Different’, a collection of outtakes and rarities former member Earl Slick put out. It’s a good start, because it’s a good song and what’s more, it sounds like the Little Caesar I remember. ‘Supersonic’ follows at similar pace and I like that too, with it driving beat and great chorus. Ron sounds no different, and we’re off and rocking in fine style.

‘Loving You Is Killing Me’ and the slightly Rolling Stones style ‘Witness Stand’ are a bit bluesier and solidly crafted, if unspectacular. The title track and ‘That Was Yesterday’ are very much in the vein of the ‘Ballad Of Johnny’ style that Little Caesar do so well, and Young’s voice is perfect for this type of track.

There’s plenty of sleazy, swaggering rock in the form of ‘Sick and Tired’ and ‘Real Rock Drive’. ‘Every Picture Tells a Story/Happy’ also raises the tempo, but suffers from some questionable additional Ace Frehley-esque vocals from one of the other members (I assume bassist Fidel Paniagua but I can’t be sure without credits). ‘Just Like A Woman’ ends the records awash with breezy acoustic Southern style slide guitars.

I can’t say I disliked any song on it, but it’s had to grow on me, unlike it’s predecessors which grabbed me instantly and just got better with repeated listens. With no deal to Geffen anymore, the band have put this out themselves and as such it’s only a download and has a raw production sound, but I think that suits it. The cover sucks, but the band supply you with a jpeg of it anyway big enough for a CD cover. I lament the fact there’s no booklet or packaging with downloads, but I appreciate the cost of doing that yourself, and if it’s a choice of a download only album or not at all, bring it on. Add that to the fact that it’s priced at $7.99 instead of £7.99 like it would be on iTunes, and you can get yourself a solid 10 track record for about a fiver. It’s a good album, it’s just not as good as their previous two. There’s plenty to show that the next one could be though. You can get it from www.myspace.com/littlecaesarband

James Gaden

 

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