It's difficult not to listen to the debut album by Guns N' Roses keysman Dizzy Reed without drawing comparisons to the music he plays in his day job. The vigorous opener Don't Look Like Vegas, written with Ricky Warwick (Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders) has the feel of a disorientated
Welcome To The Jungle and even in the moments they take their foot off the break in Crestfallen and Fragile Water there is a redolence of classic GN'R ballads. Reed has played with the bad boys of rock for 28 years, making him the longest-serving member apart from Axl. This debut album certainly has the verve of a great rock album; the riffs, licks and chops are all there and in the right places, but it lacks the prowess and memorability of other heavy duty rock albums. Even with members from W.A.S.P and Quiet Riot and fellow Gunner Richard Fortus alongside, the album seems as if Reed has been picking up riffs from the GN'R cutting room floor. There are snatches of Alice Cooper, Mott the Hoople and The Quireboys and other classic influences on the 12 tracks (13 if you download and get the bonus track Splendid Isolation – which is and great track that's worth the wait even if you have dodgy broadband, even if it does have a reminiscence to Lloyd Cole).
Reed's vocal is overly gruff and atonal at times – imagine how first-rate the record would sound if Ricky Warwick had taken over some of the vocal duties. Even the stronger tracks sound as if they could benefit from a little rearranging to make the production less muddy and bring out some of the subtleties in the album.
It's not to say that there aren't some great points on the album: the title track is a laudable commentary on the rock and roll life, Reparations and Mother Teresa are both weighty rock tracks. I Celebrate, which may just be the most satisfying track, is a cohesive example of the album taking becoming more individual.
There is some seasoned musicianship alongside moments of nascent promise on the record but for a debut album that's been a long time coming, perhaps it goes to show that rock and roll ain't as easy as people think.
Groupie Rating 2/5