Anybody who has heard Ugly Kid Joe's Mirror Of The Manor indeed Serenity by Godsmack knows that even anarchistic punk rockers need some down time. Cue the side project of UKJ's Whitfield Crane and Godsmack guitarist Lee Richards aka the imaginatively named Richards/Crane. Their debut album features a series of stripped down, laid back tunes where the focus is strictly on lyrics and melody.
The harmonies and jangling guitar refrains of tracks like Everyone have a ring of The Beatles at their harmonic best. Here Is The Light adds electric guitar but it in no way detracts from the mellow rock vibe of the track. The lead single Black & White features a guest vocal from Myles Kennedy, there's a ring of Guns N' Roses to it and it's certainly anthemic; it's a terrific torch light track for the duo. Someday's slow indie feel benefits from Indian musician Vishal Vaid's contribution and boosts the Beatles influences on the album although he's sadly underused.
Richard's acoustic guitar solos throughout the album are tight, slick and vibrant and carefully added in the right places. His gravely baritone vocals are matched perfectly with Crane's lighter Californian drawl. World Stands Still continues the mellow, thoughtful feel of the album. A smooth slide guitar brings in a country element, even if this is just a taster. To break away from their usual musical styles is certainly admirable, and they prove that they are seasoned musicians, but an attempt for minimalism means the tracks are at times too controlled. The result of being too chilled means they've missed some prime opportunities to add some further textures to a promising album.