Review by Robert Craven.
Somewhere in a living room in Nederland, Texas, is a stack of vinyl from the late 1960’s-70’s – The Scorpions, MSG, Triumph and Rush which influence’s Autovenom’s ‘And the rock keep a rollin’’
This is a sparse, though cleanly produced CD, full of Deep-South Van Zandt feel riffs and the excellent voice of Tara Russell. Jay Allen plays all guitars and basses with Chuck Davis on drums. This cohesive unit opens up with ‘Running cold’- with Russell’s voice somewhere between early Nancy Wilson and Pat Benatar to a Zeppelin groove, reminding me of ‘The Immigrant song’, Allen’s guitar is distinctive, underpinned with some solid back beat.
#2 Spending Time – is a slower instrumental allowing Allen’s skill to show through, very much a stadium guitar sound with a touch of Stevie Ray Vaughn and The Scorpions’ ‘Still loving you.’
#3 Winching Away – is a real gem, Russell has a very good voice,
Allen’s guitar and bass set the feel in best traditions of Triumph and Rush, notably the middle break followed by the smooth guitar solo into Russell’s cool delivery of the verses.
#4 I don’t like – is a mix of Zeppelin and RHCP’s back beat, with
Russell’s voice restrained on the verses, before taking it up a notch for the chorus, with a measured raunch and on a song like this, I’d really like to hear her take the song up a notch. Davis is a really good drummer, intuitive with his delivery throughout.
#5 Back the way things were – Russell’s voice has a good range and on this she sounds like Joni Mitchell and Carol King, with Allen and Davis paring it back, a real summer anthem and a guitar solo with a sweet home Alabama sound. My favourite track on the CD and by far most radio-friendly one.
#6 The Star – duet with Allen and Russell, lazy southern Texas feel with a great groove on the chorus – Russell’s voice excellent and the reverbed guitar solo never once strays into ‘look at me’ territory. My only comment a slightly abrupt ending.
#7 Purple Heart – the second guitar instrumental, a real stadium
thumper or a weekend sports programme theme, simple riff, well delivered in an
almost Jonny Winter / Michael Schenker style. Allen is a considerable guitarist
and pays homage to his heroes while putting his own stamp on the style of play.
#8 Circles – Russell has a distinctive way of phrasing and her delivery on this track is at its best. Her ability to pitch a word in the verse and phrase over the slightly psychedelic middle holds the number together. Great backbeat and the guitar does’nt swamp the song, but moves naturally through it.
#9 Hypocritical – has shades of Ritchie Blackmore with a simple riff that weaves in and out of Russell’s voice and the beat is divided up in breaks and stops, brought back in with Russell’s high voice. Simple effective rock, with a cracking guitar solo.
#10 Way too soon – great song with a good pared-down feel and Allen’s guitar is excellent along with Davies’ drumming, Allen’s ability to pull the guitar back and let loose is well executed here. Shades of Blue Oyster
Cult and a well measured guitar solo makes this track another one of the outstanding songs.
#11 – And the rock keep a rollin’ – is the last track on the CD, has a Southern swing feel with a kicking middle, Russell’s voice shimmies through the jarring guitar riff, then sits back over the riff, phrasing ‘and the rock keeps a rollin’, the guitar solo, measured and clean isn’t overdone.
I really enjoyed this CD and it has some great songs, I’d like to see a major label pick Autovenom up and apart from tidying up a few of the endings, polish the production for major release. Good old Texas Rawk as they say on their website. It’s a short CD, clocking in at just over half-an hour. Well worth loading onto your desktop and listening to during your lunchbreak.
Category: CD Reviews