Whisky or Whiskey? In Scotland, for instance, home of single malt Scotch, my preference being The Glenlivet, it's the former spelling. Here in America, home of Rebel Yell and Maker's Mark, more favorites, we spell the spirit the latter way. But more to the point why did guitar wizard Alex Beyrodt name his latest Voodoo Circle album, Whisky Fingers? He got it from a story told by fellow guitarist Steve Stevens: "I once had a discussion with Eddie Van Halen, when we toured together. We started discussing guitarists that influenced us and why we liked them. He said "they all had whisky on their fingers" Meaning you could hear the years of playing in bars and gigs getting into their soul. We both understood how those years of playing in front of people allowed us to develop ..." So know you know. And on to the album at hand.
Alright then, I'm going to say it. Again. Voodoo Circle sounds like Eighties Whitesnake. Not in the sense of pure imitation or immaculate clone. It's simply the timbre of Beyrodt's riffs, song arrangements, and that every so subtle, sometimes not so subtle, linger blues feeling. Those things and the fact that vocalist David Readman's got the ability to bring some of the sultry, soulful blues feeling to his hard rock singing. In this sense, while not sounding like that other guy, he gives Voodoo Circle that Whitesnake feel in the vocal arrangements. All these things I found in more than a few songs including The Rhythm Of My Heart (real Coverdale channeling here), Devil Takes Me Down, and especially Heartbreaking Woman, just listen to the combination of riffs and drums.
Of course, with his name on the product, the band and the music is platform for Beyrodt's skillful guitar work, once more, more than a little salted with blues groove. And once more, Beyrodt rips it up in grand style. Yet, with all these things, comparisons and such, what makes all this work so, especially for a guitarist-centered album, is that everything is wrapped up in very, very good songwriting. Sure, from listening, you know Alex Beyrodt is a terrific fret man, but what you hear first is well-crafted songs, with great guitar stuff inside. That takes some talent, and Beyrodt and gang have it in spades.
One final observation, you'll note that the ubiquitous producer and keyboard player Alessandro del Vecchio is a new member to the band. He brings a nice touch of old school Hammond to several songs, notably Been Said And Done, closing the album. Also, being successful producer and sound engineer, with many albums to his credit, he handled the mix and mastering for Whisky Fingers. The sound is top quality. In the end, Whisky Fingers is another Voodoo Circle perfect storm of Alex Beyrodt's exceptional guitar playing wrapped up in equally terrific and well-composed melodic hard rock songs. So what if they sound more than a little like Whitesnake. Easily recommended.
Whisky Fingers is another Voodoo Circle perfect storm of Alex Beyrodt's exceptional guitar playing wrapped up in equally terrific and well-composed melodic hard rock songs. So what if they sound more than a little like Whitesnake. Easily recommended.
You might be surprised when I say that some weeks the music I consider for review is so predictable to be merely mundane. And then I have to find words to say about it. I'm not necessarily looking for something ... [ Read More ]