LUTHER GROSVENOR a.k.a. ARIEL BENDER has a past in bands like SPOOKY TOOTH, STEELERS WHEEL and MOTT THE HOOPLE. He counts amongst guitar greats like Mick Ronson and Paul Kossoff, with his “technique isn´t everything you must have fun too-approach”. He has released two solo efforts prior to this one, “Under Open Skies” (1972), and “Floodgates” (1996), so this is really the difficult third album. Quite amusing as Luther has been involved in a good many albums and a heap of hit singles. The last year he´s been hard at work on this album, in the company of Mike Triggs (THE CHRISTIANS, RONAN KEATING live), keyboards and drum programming, plus guests Marc Eden, vocals, Jim Houghton, bass, and Joe Heart, vocals. Luther handles the guitar and bass parts himself, of cause, as well as the vocals.
Now we´re talking cozy rock about life itself. Opener “Dusty Track” echoes of the school of hard knocks, with a frame work of pleasant guitar and keyboard patterns. It may not be a raunchy rocker, but it provides justified space for the leather armchair on the cover. The title track opens with a guitar and a piano that are reminiscent of JOHN WAITE. Luther´s voice has a depth and a touch of sensitivity and life experience. The first thing that strikes me is how well it works as food for thought for the lazy introspection of the first day of your vacation. The solo is melodic and soft, with a distinct touch of rock. The rock drive comes in songs like “Say Never” and the soundtrack to youthful recklessness, “Kids”. Another highlight is “Emis Song”, the voice is a perfect match to the guitar, the Hammond like keyboards provides the setting to a well-arranged sensitive rocker. There is a lot of positive things to say about this album, the routine, the arrangements, the variation from the emotion laden and lead heavy “Heroes” to softness of the second version of the title track. But the downsides are there too, both emphasized and less notable; the use of a drum machine feels ignorant and pointless. Sometimes it shows in a really awkward way and can´t be overlooked. Other remarks are minor and often linked to the use of a machine in a craftsmanship like album. But the bottom line is that Luther is born and bred rocker, who has no age problems on record.
If You Dare
Fire and Water
Tears Run Dry
If You Dare (Version 2)