10 December 2015

John Dallas - Wild Life

More Italian rock coming your way, this time it is in the form of John Dallas.  John Dallas is based in Bologna and is the stage name of Luca Stanzan.  Together with Andrew Stanzan (aka Andrew Speed Stroke), Matteo Carbo Caboni (aka Black Sam Carbo) and Mauro Minelli (aka Tom Angeles) he has created a new album which has taken influences from artists such as Def Leppard, Hardcore Superstar, Van Halen & Bon Jovi.  So it is safe to say that this is some many miles away from my current music tastes that it feels unfair to the band, but as usual I will be honest as I can.  So let us see how this album sounds....

Opening song “Under Control” is a song about giving an assurance that a previous problem is not manageable and with a subsequence regretful statements and declarations of fidelity that everything will go back to the way it was beforehand.   It is a mixture of the sound of Warrior Soul, Freak of Nature and ‘Slang’ era Def Leppard or John Corbin era Motley Crue for me, it is a bit out of place in my head but not in a bad way; it just shares the production values of those bands around when grunge started to hit the airwaves and it always made me excited that those bands were taking hard rock in a different direction.  Alas the previous mentioned acts either split up shortly afterwards or reverted to form, so hopefully this is a sign of intent from Mr Dallas, but some of the guitar sounds are mixed to cleanly in places and it jars the song every now and then.  “Heaven Is” continues this hard rock/grunge edge mixture that has really came into its own, it is another love song (well, if we are honest pretty much every song ever written is either about love, sex or protest – every now and then a bizarre mixture of all three).  This one is another decent number, it has a dirty edge to the riff which is good, the mix is better on this song but it does not quite grab me as much on the chorus as “Under Control” managed to; but this is still a good, solid number.  “Falling” is the third track on this album, which brings a darker mood to the album as it deals with setting defenses up and picking up oneself after things have headed south a little.  It is a strong opening riff, strong verses and a really good chorus as well, the chorus does not hold the power of the verses but they are still performed very well and it does sound really good.

“Wild Life” is the fourth track off this album, which opens with a what is essentially the chorus repeated until it increases in volume and the song is a track women and nothing much else.  It is actually a really good example of what can be done with classic rock these days, it does not cast women down as some songs in classic rock have done and it just sounds as if the fella is really turned on by his partner of choice.  The music though, that is really good here; it is a proper hard rock number that I can imagine going down a storm in their gigs and it sounds louder than life and that is what this genre requires every now and then.  “Dreamin’ On” continues the hard rock/grunge cross over once again, the verse riff is really heavy and it is a song that is trying to grab your attention from the opening riff.  The song itself is one of the shortest on this record and pounds along and quite a pace, which makes me a little confused as to why I have not connected with it.  It is not a bad song by any means and it is once again well played, but I do not feel excitement or a desire to listen to it again once it has finished.  So not for me, but not bad either.  “Electric” marks the end of the second third of this album, it is a slower beast which deals with the destructive parts of an argument which is filled with crocodile tears and about someone who knows they are being played false.  I think the best way to describe this song is solid, everything is done very well and it sounds well-polished again.  But much like “Dreamin’ On” it is not connecting with me as well as other songs on the record.  I can appreciate what is being played and why other people will like this song, but it is not one for me once more.

With a gentle guitar strumming “Freedom” is the seventh song on this album, it is the standard acoustic driven guitar song that is used on this type of album all the time.  It is what it is, standard blues playing mixed in here, a gentle accompaniment and some lyrics that are a bit like the classic Guns ‘N’ Roses tune “Patience”; it is not too cheesy, not too bad either.  The penultimate track on this album is called “Psycho Game” and this song brings back the rock to the song and it is a song about how someone is playing silly games and is being found out.  I really like this song a lot, it is a simple beast of a tune that just does what some songs try so hard – it just rocks and it is the top song of the album.  There are a lot of hard rock bands out there which could use this song as an example of how to make a rock song correctly (i.e. not over complicating the fuck out of the song).  Ending the rock is “Love’s Fake” which seems to add a little bit of industrial metal to song, it sounds huge and certainly ends the album with a lot of energy.  The lyrics are standard fare and the music is well played, it is not doing anything amazing for me; however it is still a decent song to end this album.

As the album fades out, you are either going to be in rapturous joy for this retro trip, no-fussed or hating it, I am not hating it as it is well play for the most part; however I am not loving it either as it is not something I would really listen to all the time (a bit like Hardcore Superstar as well).  It is a well played album which does bring a lot of energy and passion, you cannot deny that they love what they are doing and that shines through like a diamond in the sunlight.  Hopefully they will find there audience and this is a good introduction, a few of my hard rock friends who I have played this to have been really impressed, so I know that they are doing something right and whilst it is not for me I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone who like their rock firmly in the classic genre.

7 out of ten – This is worth checking out

Top track – Psycho Game

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