Here at TINAS we like to think that we provide a service to you- the hardened music fan- so, with this in mind, here, to start you off, are the three key headlines that you need for the office/pub/schoolyard regarding the new Slash record, Apocalyptic Love.
1. This is a contender for the rock n roll album of the year.
2. Myles Kennedy is one of the best vocalists in music.
3. Slash is still a genius guitar player.
Right, still with me? Then let’s talk about this record in some detail shall we? “Apocalyptic Love” is far, far better than you are expecting it to be: it is absolutely, no word of a lie, honest guv’nor, bloody brilliant. This is a much more stripped back, no nonsense affair: full of stonking tunes, massive riffs and memorable chrouses. It’s a record that is completely comfortable in its skin and doesn’t give a monkeys for fashion or what’s in vogue. It’s only rock n roll, but by God, do we like it.
For this second album, Slash has dispensed with the “Slash and friends” approach of his largely successful debut in favour of using his live backing band; it’s an approach that pays off handsomely as this sounds like a proper group rather than a pro-tools cut-and-paste effort. There’s an edge to the playing, a swagger and an attitude and- yes- something of a rawness that wholly endears. The inclusion of Myles Kennedy, he of Alter Bridge and Slash‘s live touring band is a very, very smart move. He is surely the hardest working man in showbusiness and, seriously, a vocalist of ridiculous ability. Kennedy is little short of magnificent on this record- whether it’s through the gritty Guns N Roses vibes that ebb through “Halo” or “One More Thrill” through the mid paced moodiness of “We Will Roam” or across the big ballad “Far And Away”, Kennedy turns in something a masterclass in how to be a rock god.
Despite Kennedy‘s brilliance- and it is brilliance, make no mistake- this is still Slash‘s record. You know, it’s a proper sign of greatness when you can use your talent with humility and this is what Slash does on this album. His playing is as good as you know it can be but it’s neither flashy nor exuberant; on the contrary, its poised, polished and, in parts, perfection.
Above all, though- and what sets this record above the moribund, the “will this do?” knock offs of some other supposed megastars we could name- is the sheer care and attention to detail on the songwriting and the band’s performance. There are some proper take no prisoners, diamond tunes here: whether you like the infectious “Standing In The Sun”, the punchy “You’re A Lie” or the guitar genius that swoons all over the majestic “Anastasia”, this is a record that keeps on giving. Whatever your own personal favourite there’s little doubt in my mind that we will all be spending the summer singing along to the phenomenal “No More Heroes”. Honestly, it is so anthemic you want to give it a country as a present. It has a chorus that you will be singing along to in the shower and the stadium. It’s catchier than a cold in winter, and has “stone cold classic” tattooed through its grooves.
“Apocalyptic Love” is just a brilliant record. They say that money can’t buy you happiness. They might be right: tell you what, though, buying the new Slash record will definitely buy you happiness. Bucketloads of it. Awesome.