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Nick Douglas - 'Regenerations' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/d3/a7/12/nick-douglas-regenerations-15-1502289011.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 09, 2017    
 
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Songs which have friendly hit-potential written all over them.

This is the second solo album from Nick Douglas, whose healthy profile comes courtesy of his bass playing position in Doro Pesch's band for over twenty-five years, alongside stints with Blaze Bayley and Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Chris Caffery.

It's not often you get a solo album from a bass player, but recorded and produced at his own studio Douglas plays virtually all the instruments, just adding Johnny Dee on drums, Cassi on violin and a couple of backing vocal contributions. Written and gathered over fifteen years, the set of eleven tracks in thirty-five minutes, including a little instrumental cameo, isn't really going to particularly tax anyone with a challenging listen.

What's been described as "good car driving music" promises and delivers a strong trend of songs which have friendly hit-potential written all over them. For the record, that's "good driving music" as in with the top down while powering through vast sunburnt North American landscapes rather than stuck in a traffic jam on your way home from work on a cold, drizzly Friday – that type of driving.

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On the one hand there are the songs which are smooth and Rocking, and then those which occasionally trip across to the type of Power Pop which wouldn't be far from what Green Day might consider. The opening pair of cuts, 'Come Alive' and 'All On Me', illustrate the point perfectly. Then there's the songs such as 'Before You Break' and 'Didn't We Try' that drift from the template and explore a more sensitive side. On an album where the margins remain very enclosed and there's very little in the way of thrilling boundary-pushing, the less palatable parts of the album are reached.

With styles alternating between the REM-styled riff (with some bubbling keyboards at the back) of 'I Need Real' and the cheerily mate-y vibe of the acoustic 'Uncomfortable', which Gary Barlow might be proud of, the issue of lacking a real identity and style arises. The piano-based interlude 'Blackwood' gets thrown in as a cameo, possibly as an intro to the slow building big ballad 'You Break', all rough-edged vocal intensity and overwrought delivery. The female vocal (featuring Rebecca Gowarty) on the closing 'Blue' pushes even its predecessor as the journey comes to an end in a pastel coloured, soft-focused haze that might have you reaching for an antidote of the hard stuff.

Mike Ainscoe

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