Bridger - 'Bridger' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 31, 2011    
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Not what I thought it was going to be.

Sometimes the promotional blurb that accompanies a new album can completely give you the wrong idea of what it is going to sound like. This one in particular features the names Mr. Big, Great White and Journey, so I was expecting some slick, Eighties sounding anthemic Arena Rock. After a few spins it's apparent that's not the case at all, this is raw, rootsy rock'n'roll with two feet firmly planted in both the Seventies and the current contemporary Rock market. And it's bloody good too, I don't think I've ever had an album by an unknown band to review that I've wanted to listen to as much as this one.

The band were put together and Christened by guitarist Glen Bridger, who is currently a member of Seventies Midwestern rockers Head East, and he recruited his band-mate Glen Manahan to play bass. Vocals are provided by Terry Ilous, formerly of XYZ, and currently fronting Great White while Jack Russell recovers from illness. Drums are provided by Danzoid, keyboards by Sam McCaslin, and the organic production is handled by J.K. Northrup.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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I'm not entirely sure what the running order of the album should be, I've seen two different line-ups on the internet, and when I downloaded this album and dumped it on my iPod, all the ballads were lumped together at the end, which actually flowed very well. But for the record, 'Gonna Get Better', and 'How Long' positively reek of Tesla, the former being a punk-tinged rocker, the latter starting gently then building to a glorious melodic anthem, 'Without A Sound' is a Southern Rock style ballad with some subtle slide guitar, and 'On The Ledge' is pure blues, with Terry Ilous doing a very passable Paul Rodgers impersonation, and proving why he is a good choice for the Great White job. Of the more contemporary sounding tracks, 'Free' is an acoustic based light-hearted rocker reminiscent of Matchbox Twenty's later output, and 'Tuesday Afternoon' could easily have come from a Daughtry album, while the 'Once In A Lifetime' is a piano ballad with a stunning vocal from Mr. Ilous. 'Good To Be Home' is seventies style shuffling pop-rock with a big chorus, and 'Live For The Moment' is a gentle ballad that sounds like something Rod Stewart could have come up with back in his prime. 'Don't Push Me' is the heaviest track on the album, with a gentle opening before a huge riff cuts in and pushes the track to the chorus, and I finally see where the Mr.Big reference comes from, I can hear Eric Martin doing justice to this one. The album closes with a tribute to Ronnie James Dio, a cover of the Black Sabbath classic 'Heaven And Hell.' Now the purists among you may be up in arms when you hear the drum machine that opens the song, but when that familiar riff cuts in and Terry Ilous belts out the 'sing me a song you're a singer' line you'll be ready to forgive, as this a corking version of the song which Ilous completely makes his own, and even sounds uncannily like RJD at times.

As I said, this album is not what I thought it was going to be, but is actually all the better for it.

Ant Heeks

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