Fireworks

Michael Shepherd Band - 'II' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b9/33/19/michael-shepherd-band-ii-23-1382641783.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 24, 2013    
 
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Clearly Luxembourg's best classic rock band, but I also must state they win that title by default.

Unsurprisingly, 'II' is the second album from the Michael Shepherd Band, who called their 2002 debut album 'MSB'. Not the most original of titles, but that's not of great importance as the opening track 'This Time Around' is a pleasant enough power ballad. At this point I open up the CD booklet and to my bemusement discover there isn't a single member of the band called Michael. Or even Shepherd.

The band, comprised of Baba (vocals and guitar), Kuji (guitars) Lupo (drums), Gilles (keys) and Pablo (bass) are in fact from Luxembourg – not exactly a hotbed for music inspired by the likes of Free, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake as the biography claims. I'm assuming they've adopted the Michael Shepherd moniker to avoid any negative preconceptions, which is wise as I certainly would have been less inclined to listen to "Luxembourg's only classic rock band".

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'Days Of Thunder' is a decent driving rocker, bogged down a little by clichéd lyrics ("those crazy days of summer, etc etc"). There's an ill-advised cover of Linda Perry's 'Beautiful' which I think achieves nothing other than to highlight Baba's vocal limitations. 'Reach For The Sky' is much better, doing a very passable job of imitating Springsteen in his prime and marrying it with a Journey-esque big chorus. 'Mystery Woman' tries very hard to be Whitesnake's 'Is This Love' but the chorus is clunky and plodding. 'Gambler' and the obvious Lizzy wannabe 'U Can Do What U Want' are quite good, counterbalanced by the drearily predictable blues cut 'Heartaches And Booze'.

At its best, MSB sound like a half decent rock band in the making with some good ideas. At their worst, they sound like a pub tribute band to their obvious influences. 'II' has its moments, but it's not essential. They are clearly Luxembourg's best classic rock band, but I also must state they win that title by default.

James Gaden

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