SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE
Supersonic Blues Machine is back in the groove with a brand new studio album that follows on from their superb debut 'West of Flushing, South of Frisco'. Although this album is more geographically speaking, Pacific Coast Highway, of the early seventies as imagined by producer, songwriter and bass player Fabrizio Grossi, such is the albums laid-back vibe. The suitably entitled Californisoul takes the chilled soul-infused blues sound to dizzy heights with some truly 'supersonic' guitar playing from the shredding luminaries on the scene.
The first of these collaborations is Somebody's fool featuring Robben Ford who adds some sass to the record early on. Billy Gibbon is back again and lending his ZZ Top riffing to the sexy Broken Heart - a smokin' track that could easily be covered by anyone from Bonnie Raitt or Black Star Riders. Walter Trout is characteristically bluesy on What's Wrong. Hard Times is the longest track on the album and features the iconic guitar work of Steve Lukather. Having worked with the Lukather before in Goodfella, the incendiary synergy between the musicians is palpable from the opening bar of the blues-rock number. The distinctive Eric Gales also returns with his Hendrixesque licks on Elevate. The fruity track is spot on for the early seventies feel with a tasty nod to Foxy Lady.
Running with the Hendrix analogy, the chemistry would not, of course, be possible without SBM's very own Band of Gypsies. Fabrizio with his fab (get it!) style of solid and funky bass lines is analogous to taking the baton forward from Billy Cox. Lance Lopez - who's voice is as distinctively soul infused as it is sultry, passionate and raunchy that it should come with a health warning! Although as far as I am aware, he has not yet made love or set light to his guitar. However, his guitar playing is oh so hot and when he duels with the other guitar stars on the album the energy just blows the roof and the doors off. Let's not forget one of the best stick men this side of the Delta - Kenny Aronoff. Versatile and filled with soul, Aronoff is a valuable addition to any band, driving the pulse of the music on with his ability to use the drum kit as not only a percussive instrument, but fill a track with melody too.
There are lots of altruistic and humanitarian concepts in this album too that tie the album once back to its hippy vintage feel. L.O.V. E is a really strong example of the uplifting and powerful nature of the album, but the track for sheer emotion is Cry, hands down. This is by no means an album packed with anodyne filler; this is an album that is deeply relevant, truthful and subtly brilliant.
Using their interaction on stage as inspiration for recording the album has clearly paid off. Despite the names on the album, there is certainly no ego here. SBM has set the bar ridiculously high for the notorious second album. To be honest, if you can't make music this good, just give up and go home: the future of blues belongs to those that are supersonic.
Groupie Rating 5/5