A true vocal and musical icon of our times, 'Resonate' is the highly anticipated twelfth original Glenn Hughes album released today. At the end of 2015, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame based in the USA, announced that Deep Purple including MKIII, are finally to be inducted after several previous nominations over the years. This was a culmination of a 40+ years career which saw Glenn leave his indelible mark in several musical endeavours and bands, including Trapeze, Deep Purple, Hughes/Thrall, his collaborations with Gary Moore, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and most recently with Black Country Communion and California Breed. Despite his undoubted pedigree, the only time I have seen Hughes live was in the highly impressive Black Country Communion with Joe Bonamassa - which unfortunately ended acrimoniously - perhaps unfairly reflecting his marmite reputation. So would his first album in eight years be a triumphant return for "The Voice Of Rock"?
The opening single 'Heavy' sets the scene for the album and does exactly what is says on the tin - an 'in yer face' intro blending the driving guitar of Soren Anderson, the keyboards of Lach Doley and Red Hot Chilli Peppers Chad Smith's drums before sixty four year old Hughes lets rip with his trademark vocals. Given the fact that 'Heavy' was a released as a public taster on Youtube at the end of September - my only concern was whether the rest of the album would stand up to the subtlety, production and sound of this quality opener. Step forward 'My Town' which continued to carry 'Resonate's' torch with Pontus Enborg's pounding drum opening and a to die for driving guitar riff and solo from Andersen - the perfect vehicle for Hughes to flit between a soft and hard vocal. Guitar feedback heralded the arrival of 'Flow' with another stand out guitar/organ riff and another opportunity for Glenn to open his tonsils - although a common theme throughout 'Resonate' is the unexpected direction that some tracks take - on this occasion the delicate mid-section harmony that builds into a awesome combination of another Andersen solo complemented by the amazing 'purplesque' keys of Doley. For mine the track of the album - follow that. Initially taking their foot of the accelerator on 'Let It Shine' - this track deceptively creeps up on you into a real ace rocker - again with the combination of Hughes, Andersen and Doley in overdrive.
Doley's unmistakeable 70's Hammond organ intro entices you in before 'Steady' unleashes a classic riff that primes Hughes' hard and soft pic 'n mix vocals - which also showcases for the first time Glenn's bass guitar prowess fused once more with Enborg's drumming and jaw dropping solos from Andersen and Doley. This is as good as it gets! 'God Of Money' unquestionably flies the flag for good old prog - the track very reminiscent of Porcupine Tree whilst the Hard Rock of 'How Long' is another platform for a Doley Hammondfest with the supporting cast of Hughes and Anderson very evident - both tracks maintaining 'Resonate's standard. Eventually, we step off the Hard Rock rollercoaster thirty five minutes into the album with the slower Bluesy 'When I Fall' - immediately reinforcing its diversity - particularly Hughes' vocals. Delightful. The Funk of 'Landmines' explodes on to the scene, again confirming the depth of 'Resonate' before we're back rocking with 'Stumble & Go' which has a definite Stones feel about it. Andersen's acoustic guitar welcomes the last track 'Long Time Gone' which also sees the return of Smith on drums - it's Funky Rock sound - a fitting finale to a diverse, stand-out album.
My preconception regarding 'Resonate' was that it would be another cliched jurassic driven solo album from a rock icon dinosaur. How way off the mark I was! The musical diversity on this album needs to heard to be believed - its distinctive style blending the finest elements of Hard Rock, Soul and Funk. The surprise CD package of the year for mine - and it deserves to resonate through my initial perceived prejudice and get the critical acclaim it so thoroughly deserves.