X-Drive: Get Your Rock On

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I’ve had Get Your Rock On, the debut CD from X-DRIVE for some weeks now and it’s one that I find myself playing at least twice a day. The songs are infectious, going from heavy rock to AOR with a dash of pop rock as well. This is another one of those perfect albums for summertime drivin’. Produced by the late Andy Johns and guitarist Jeremy Brunner the mix is crisp, the drums are sharp and the vocals, guitars, and bass can all be heard with no one instrument overpowering the others. Vocalist Keith St. John (QUIET RIOT, LYNCH MOB) is a Godsend for these songs as his voice fits them seamlessly, and bassist James Lomenzo (WHITE LION, MEGADETH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) finds the right grooves by letting them come to him and not chasing. Last, but certainly not least, drummer Fred Fischer has arena rock chops, and keeps the pocket tight, never showing off or overplaying. None of these guys do, and you truly get the feeling this is a BAND effort.

Leadoff single “California” has got to be one of the best summer anthems to come out in a while, a rock-pop ditty whose chorus will ring out in your heads long after it’s over. This was one I fell in love from the outset and had to play a couple of times before I could move on. Brunner’s guitar has an almost watery chorus effect on it that makes it even sweeter to the taste and visions of cruising down the Sunset Strip easily come to mind. Opening track “Love’s a Bitch” is a solid puncher straight from ’88 and the kind of song that SHOULD open a rock album, St. John’s gritty, breathy vocals driving that point home. And it continues on the title track “Get Your Rock On” another one that warrants repeated listens. Ballad “Baby Bye Bye” pays homage to WHITESNAKE’S MTV heyday and that’s fine by me because it’s a good one. Mini-Amps seems to really like “Lay Me Down” and I’m inclined to agree with him because the kid’s got great taste!

My other favorite is the rocking take on the state of the world today “Turn the Noize Down”. With rocket-fueled verses and a shout-along hook this one was born to be on many of my upcoming playlists. Another beautiful slow song graces us with its presence in “Fly Beyond the Angels” with some heartfelt soloing by Brunner that only adds to the tugging at the heartstrings. This is followed immediately by the dirty, sexy boogie of “Just Can’t Stay”, another one I couldn’t shake, especially when the chorus kicks in and completely changes the dynamic of the song, like the quickening pace of two lovers in bed about to achieve liftoff. “Change of Heart” sounds like something that was born from an impromptu jam in the rehearsal room on acoustic guitars and bongos. It feels so natural it’s almost scary. Every ride has to end at some point and with “Love Breaks the Fool” the boys make sure to close down the amusement park with this guitar-laden rocker.

Jeremy Brunner may be the coolest guitar player you’ve never heard of. That’s about to change. With an uncanny ability to write catchy riffs, meaty solos, and big hooks for days he, along with his bandmates have struck gold with Get Your Rock On. The album rocks from beginning to end, and X-DRIVE is off to a fantastic start with a big, bright future ahead of them! The album comes out August 26 via Frontiers Records. I advise you to pick this one up.

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Get Your Rock On”, “California”, “Turn the Noize Down”, “Lay Me Down”, “Just Can’t Stay”, “Change of Heart”

RATING: 9/10


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