When Black Country Communion came to an end, two of its members, Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham, decided they wanted to carry on working together. Rather than simply finding a guitarist to act as a replacement for Joe Bonamassa they decided to start a new band and take a new musical direction. They named the band California Breed and recruited an unknown guitarist (Andrew Watt) to join them. They’ve kept the lineup as a trio rather than the more common 4 or 5 piece band, and that’s a decision I think has really paid off.
The three-piece lineup works superbly well. Whereas in some bands with 4 or 5 members, part of the time you can barely hear any input from a particular band member, here they’ve stripped the band down to the bare essentials – guitar, bass, drums and vocals, with all the parts playing an important role throughout the album.
With some musicians after a long career they become fairly predictable – you know for instance that Ian Anderson’s next album will still sound pretty much like a Jethro Tull album, but with Glenn Hughes the only predictable thing is that the next album will sound nothing like the last one, and that’s certainly the case here. Gone is the Black Country Communion rock sound and in comes a much harder heavier sound with heavily distorted guitar and powerful almost screaming vocals.
The heavily distorted guitar sound does give a nod to the 70s but at the same time sounds modern and fresh, and that’s true for the music as a whole – it’s got a bit of a 70s feel but it’s not a case of trying to sound like a 70s band (which some bands at the moment seem desperate to do) – it’s more a case of a 70s hard rock base that has been used to create a new powerful sound. Glenn Hughes’s voice sounds superb – particularly impressive after 4 decades of his career, and has loads of power and control as well as quality.
There’s a real “Live” feel to the music – as though the songs were recorded at a gig rather than in a recording studio, and that bodes well for future live dates as I’m quite sure these songs will all sound great on stage.
Check out the videos below and hear for yourself what California Breed are like. I think you’ll enjoy it, and it’s one of those albums that grows on you too. I enjoyed it the first time I listened to it, but the more I listen, the more I love this album. Highly recommended.
“California Breed” will be released on 19th May 2014 via Frontiers records.
1. The way
2. Sweet tea
3. Chemical rain
4. Midnight oil
5. All falls down
6. The grey
7. Days they come
8. Spit you out
California Breed are:
Glenn Hughes – Bass & Vocals
Andrew Watt – Guitar
Jason Bonham – Drums