GRAHAM BONNET BAND – Meanwhile, Back in the Garage
Legendary vocalist Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Alcatrazz, MSG) is undoubtedly one of the finest singers out there in the world of rock music and he is as charismatic as he is cool whenever he hits the stage. These past few years has seen him touring pretty much constantly with his own group, the Graham Bonnet Band, and the Michael Schenker Group. Back in 2016, the Graham Bonnet Band released a glorious hard rock album entitled "The Book" that blew yours truly the fuck away. It had killer songs, unbelievably wicked riffs, incredible vocals, and a hard-hitting rhythm section – everything that one could have wished for. It is one of those albums that would be hard to top. The thing is that this 2018 effort of theirs named "Meanwhile, Back in the Garage" is neither as riveting nor exciting as the aforementioned record from 2016, but that does not mean that it is not without its merits. There are some truly well-crafted songs with punch and potency to them to be found on this one. Fast-paced tunes such as the title track, "Past Lives", and the explosive "Long Island Tea" will tear you a new asshole and are wonderfully heavy. On the other hand, "The Hotel" and "The House" are slightly moodier and have a subtle melancholy vibe to them that is amazing to experience. The dynamic "Sea of Trees" also rules beyond belief. Then there are some of the more forgettable and unremarkable tracks such as "Livin’ in Suspicion" and "America…Where Have You Gone" that add very little to the affair. Luckily, the number of hook-laden and interesting cuts outweigh the number of generic ones.
The keyboard work is magnificent in places and comes across as both creative and inspired while the rhythm section is utterly solid. The melodies are for the most part highly catchy, the solos are marvelous, and Mr. Bonnet himself sounds as powerful and passionate as ever. The production is quite decent as well and leaves plenty of room for each instrument with Bonnet’s loud and intense voice being rather high up in the mix. The guitars have crunch and a certain rawness to them that is appealing and the drums sound great too.
As usual, those charming people over at the Frontiers office did not include the accompanying bonus DVD featuring a live show from a joint called Daryl’s House when they mailed out the promo version, but I reckon that if you buy the CD version of this album it will be included. Either way, "Meanwhile, Back in the Garage" is an entertaining and memorable offering that ought to satisfy all you lovers of Rainbow, Alcatrazz, and MSG out there, but it is not up there with the very best and most classic of Bonnet’s releases.