So here it is, 2019 and we are fortunate that a lot of our bands from back in the day are still making new music, and it’s GOOD music. Most of these bands aren’t content to just rest on their laurels and tour to play the same old same old, no. They are too good at what they do to fall into that trap. One such group is the mighty WHITESNAKE, who have been featured prominently here in the pages of A&GS as of late. Two killer tour stops in Dallas and Philly, and now the review of their long-awaited new record Flesh & Blood (out now, Frontiers Music). Hey, sometimes the stars align and it happens like that. Anyway, on to the music…
“Good to See You Again” is everything you could want from these guys in an opener and more. The guitar duo of Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach are taking care of business, while bassist Michael Devin, drummer Tommy Aldridge, and keyboard player Michele Luppi all play their respective positions perfectly. Vocalist David Coverdale is in fine form throughout the album, especially on “Shut Up & Kiss Me”, which is one of the most fun tracks on the whole thing. It was so cool hearing it live two weeks ago and every time I play it I have to hit REPEAT at least twice. The band really hits the mark on this tune.
“Hey You (You Make Me Rock)” is an anthem that simply demands you raise those fists and Devil Horns while the band lays down a serpentine rhythm that might have you undressed and on your back if you’re not careful. Meanwhile “Always & Forever” takes us back to the 80’s and wouldn’t be out of place on a landmark record like Slide It In. A gorgeous guitar solo ushers in “When I Think of You (Color Me Blue)”, a quasi-ballad that completely resonates with a guy like me, a hopeless romantic. Oh, and then we get ANOTHER beautiful guitar solo a few minutes later. It’s really a great song!
Now, let’s discuss “Trouble Is Your Middle Name”, shall we? From the opening police sirens to the sexy fast-paced groove of the song, it’s damn near impossible to not love this one. Definitely one of the album’s best tracks, and you can hear Beach and Hoekstra trading off on the guitar solos, which are incendiary. Any novice guitar players out there should be looking to these two men for inspiration, case closed. Title track “Flesh & Blood” brings with it a 70’s rock vibe that definitely resonates, while “Well I Never” is a total throwback to the sleazy 80’s. This one didn’t quite hook me, though. It feels like a throwaway.
“Heart of Stone” has a very bluesy feel to it, and Coverdale sings with some serious conviction. Still, it didn’t move me. However, “Get Up”, let’s talk about this bitch, huh? Not only did it destroy live recently, but this is definitely one of the album’s choicest cuts for sure! And anyone who doesn’t think so is just plain stupid. And now we come to my absolute favorite track on this record, “After All.” It’s an acoustic number that Coverdale completely owns as the boys weave a sonic tapestry for him to sing over. I’ve been telling all my rocker friends to listen to this song, and many of them were like, “You’re right, D!”
Closer “Sands of Time” kicks the door to the saloon open and announces its presence with authority. It’s like this: WHITESNAKE have put out a fucking great album in Flesh & Blood, and anyone who thinks differently should go hit themselves with a blunt instrument. And if you have a chance to see these guys on tour I suggest you do so!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Shut Up & Kiss Me”, “Get Up”, “After All”, “When I Think of You (Color Me Blue)”, “Trouble Is Your Middle Name”