jeudi 17 mai 2018

Salty Dog "Lost Treasure" (Review)

It's not an easy task to follow such an iconic album as "Every Dog Has Its Day". But here it is, "Lost Treasure" is the 2nd album that never saw the light back in the day. Until now.  

Salty Dog are back !

In 1991, Salty Dog released a record that, to this day, remains one of my all time favorite. Other fantastic first albums were released during the same era (Sea Hags, Law and order "Guilty of Innocence", The Front, The Hangmen...) but theirs has a specific sound. Something really unique.

Each of the four members of the band is responsible of the overall greatness of their sound signature.
But the element that really makes it so special to me is Khurt Maier's drums sound. It's like if the recording took place during the late 60s or early 70s. And it really wasn't the kind of sound production that was common at the time on the Hard Rock planet. Plus, it was really upfront in the mix.

Jimmi Bleacher's voice is another element that immediately defined Salty Dog sound. But he was no longer in the band when the tracks for the potential 2nd album were recorded, and has been replaced by another vocalist, Darrel Beach.

And that's the tricky part here. A change of vocalist is often (always ?) something the fans can't handle. At least at first.

The band needed a singer that could perform the first album material with a similar swagger during their live gigs. And obviously Darrel Beach probably could (I unfortunately never saw Salty Dog in concert, in whatever line-up so...). He's kinda sound like a mix of Jimmi Bleacher and Jizzy Pearl (Love/Hate) without being a copy or something since he's bringing his own thing to the equation.

Here you get 11 new tracks, most of them are in the same vein as "Every Dog Has Its Day" and a few others are going in new territories.

"Damned If I Do", "I Need More", "Open Sezme", "Woman Scorned" or "Honeysuckle Wind" could have been taken from the first album. And if you are a fan of this record you'll get with "Lost Treasure" all you like : 70s blues based Hard rock with Led Zeppelin influences, a tight rhythm section, scorching vocals and an impeccable guitar work.

It's easy to imagine Jimmi sings on these track. But the new boy, Darrell, is singing with a similar swagger and confidence. Of course it took me repeated listening to accept the change of vocalist and not negatively forejudge the album but rightfully give it its due. And more precisely, give Darrell Beach his due.

So It's quite a bold move to open the album with "Damned If I Do" that started with only the vocals before all the instruments join. But I guess the band always liked bold moves. Groovy tune.

"Open Sezme" is one of my fave number on the record. Salty Dog at its very best in my opinion. Just listen to the intro, it's irresistible and sums up perfectly the sound of this underrated bunch. This song is ridiculously good.
"Honeysuckle Wind" reconvenes with the banjo and the slide guitar. The kind of things that only Salty Dog used to do on the scene. When I was talking about an unique sound signature, you see ?
And Darrell raspy then clear voice isn't uni-dimensional and offer a wide range of emotions and diversity in the delivering.

"Walk Softly" is starting with an intro that could have been find on a Love/Hate album and the rest of the song and Beach voice reinforce this impression. A really cool track.

"Mission On A Hill" is one of the ballad featured here. Yes, one of them. Actually there is 2 slow and mellow songs out of 11 tracks. But let's get back to the song itself. It starts with a chords progression that remind me of early Jane's Addiction ala "Three Days" then to evolved into something being more similar to Mother Love Bone or Pearl Jam during the second part. It really could have been a hit if the song has been released at the time of the recording. Really well written track.

"All That Glitters" is heavier than the rest of the band repertoire yet true to the band style. One of the best track of the album in which Darrel really delivers a top notch performance.

A song like "Didju" is typical Salty Dog yet different at the same time while exploring a mellower side with almost a pop sensibility in it. Same impression could apply to "Old Fashioned Love". A natural progression per say.

"When Fools Rush In" is the other ballad of the album but more reminiscent of Hendrix musically showcasing another side of the talent of Pete Reveen on guitar. But it's not just the guitar, once again Darrel Beach shows the diversity of his singing and never losing a bit of emotion in doing it. And if they can deliver such performances it's because the rhythm section is perfect in everything. Brilliant.

As I say, it's not that easy to accept changes from a band you have been listen to during 28 years. But repeated listen helps to fully embrace the album with all its differences and qualities. Darrel Beach did a swell job and I would love to get access to videos of live performances during his time in the band.

In conclusion : a great album and follow-up to their classic first record. The only complain I have is, why on Earth the song "My American Dream" recorded during the same sessions is not included here ? It's a great track that cannot be compared to any other Salty Dog song with its fast tempo leading it to only last 2mns.

Nevertheless I'm also thrilled to hear the band reunite again with Jimmi Bleacher and working on a new album. And luckily, we may have to wait only a few months to get the result blasted on our stereo.

Salty Dog "Lost Treasure" (2018 - Escape music)
1. Damned If I Do
2. I Need More
3. Walk Softly
4. Open Sezme
5. Mission On A Hill
6. All That Glitters
7. Woman Scorned
8. Honeysuckle Wind
9. Didju
10. Old Fashioned Love
11. When Fools Rush In

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