X-Drive - 'Get Your Rock On'

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X-Drive - 'Get Your Rock On'

This is a winner in every department.

The name sounds more like a computer game than a Rock band, but X-Drive is a new project initiated by as yet unknown guitarist and song-writer Jeremy Brunner. The Oregon native made his way to Los Angeles armed with just a batch of basic song structures and set about enlisting the required talent to turn his dream into reality and make what became the debut album 'Get Your Rock On'.

Credit to Brunner then, for not only has he the songs to make people sit up and take notice, but he has surrounded himself with a top-notch cast. The rhythm section consists of bassist James Lomenzo (White Lion, Megadeth, Pride & Glory) and drummer Fred Fischer (Midline), while adding his exemplary vocals to proceedings is Keith St. John (Burning Rain, Montrose), who provided the lyrics. Demonstrating that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts, these guys sound like they've been performing together for years, with Brunner's contribution fiery when needed but also content to stay in the background and not smother the material.

Stylistically it harks back to the late eighties and early nineties with a moody take on Melodic Hard Rock a la Tesla, Winger, Shark Island and Great White, though remains contemporary sounding thanks to the production. Encompassing a healthy mix of styles from pulsing Rockers like opener 'Love's A Bitch', 'Steppin' On The Rock', 'Rattlesnake Eyes', 'Love Breaks The Fool' and the title-track. There's three ballads of contrasting moods including the bittersweet 'Baby Bye Bye', the achingly beautiful 'Beyond The Angels' and the acoustic 'Change Of Heart' while first single 'California' has a mid-tempo Summery West Coast feel that conjures up images of the State the title implies. 'Turn The Noize Down' is a vitriol-fuelled rant that grooves along on a down 'n' dirty Sleaze Rock riff, and 'Just Can't Stay' is a Whitesnake style Bluesy piece complete with a neat tempo change for the chorus.

Expertly produced by Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin) just before his tragic death in 2013, and suited with a great cover (further evidence that Frontiers is gradually moving away from the atypical air-brushed design of old), this is a winner in every department. Let's hope this well become more than a 'project' so they can build on this excellent beginning.

Ant Heeks

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