Lace & Whiskey is one of those band names which instantly offers thoughts of the sounds they produce, in this case the name inspiring expectations of soft melodic rock. As their new single Confuse The Mind shows the UK band are very much inspired by and entrenched in that area of rock n roll but also bring vibrant additives of folk, blues and rock pop to their accomplished sound. Taken from their successful and acclaimed Running Out of Time album, the new track easily gives credence to the enthusiastic responses laid upon the band.
The East London quartet formed in 2008 soon earning a strong reputation live as they played throughout the capital and further afield at renowned venues such as Dublin Castle, Hope & Anchor, The Enterprise, Proud Camden and the Troubadour leading to an appearance at the High Voltage Beer Festival. Fronted by the punky growls of Andy Hodgson, the band line-up is completed by guitarist Melissa Collett, bassist Nick Charleston, and Aaron Smith on drums. 2010 saw the release of their EP Acoustic Shots but arguably 2012 with the release of debut album Running Out of Time, is where the band found a strong light of recognition.
The third single from the album, Confuse The Mind is a welcoming mix of blues and classic with elements of garage and southern rock to its infectious gait. From its initial note the song is a feast of sinewy rhythms, sonic guitar flames with an acidic melodic breath, and feisty anthemic vocals. Its stride prowls rather than charges along but the song is never reluctant to raise the tempo throughout to engage with further contagion. The guitar flames of Collett are especially magnetic whilst vocally Hodgson is passion, mischief, and defiance rolled into one earnest encounter, the whole combination ensuring the listener only looks their way.
Arguably the song does not offer anything new, its heart and presence seeded from well recognised sources but it certainly grabs hold tightly from start to finish for two and a half minutes of undeniable prime satisfaction. For very solid and honest melodic rock n roll you could do a lot worse than checking out Lace & Whiskey and Confuse The Mind, a release which certainly for us leads one happily into their Running Out Of Time album.
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The title of the new album from Austrian melodic rock band Cornerstone gives a strong hint as to their flowing female fronted AOR soft rock sound. The band openly wear their influences on their sleeve bringing an 80’s tinged rock sound that oozes essences of Berlin and Fleetwood Mac plus the musical flows of Journey amongst others. Impressive with natural melodies and well written guitars solos the creative Somewhere In America easily slips into the ear and even for those of us that wake up longing to be battering from pillar to post with rampaging riffs and threatening rhythms there is something inviting and satisfying within the album.
Cornerstone are no newcomers having formed in 1998 going through various line-up changes until they found the perfect formula in the current compliment. The band’s debut release came in 2008 with the album Head Over Heels released via Atom Records though it is fair to say it had a mixed response. Hard work being no stranger to the quartet brought a UK and a three week American tour and an appearance at the Z Rock Festival. Now with the release of Somewhere In America the band is ready to spread their melodic wings and swoop up a much greater amount of new fans with their extremely enjoyable rock pop.
The first noticeable and obvious thing about the album is the powerful flowing vocals of Patricia Hillinger. She expands each song with her confident and passionate voice bringing especially to the slower and more emotive songs an extra spice of feeling. The rest of the band more than ably work together to deliver music that engages and eagerly dances easily around the senses with the guitars of Steve Wachelhofer tight and succinct whilst the bass and drums of Michael Wachelhofer and Mike Pawlowitsch respectively, instil a firm and inviting framework to each track. They both bring an obvious skilled ability but allow the guitars and Hillinger’s endearing harmonies to shine.
‘Stay’ opens the album with a pulsating riff and throbbing bassline as the keyboards skills of Michael Wachelhofer subtlety sweep throughout the song. It is a strong opener that immediately shows a band with the skill to write and make music that brightens any state of mind. It has to be said that none of the songs within Somewhere In America are going to forge new directions for music or leave jaws on the floor but they will make the simple act of pressing play a very worthwhile thing.
Note that it is down to personal taste which words and comments appear in any review and here the following tracks which are all immaculate and very easy to sink into do not quite ignite anything deeper, though as the album lays down its final note it is the beautiful song ‘Breathing For You’ with its sleek vocal swells and mesmeric tones that for some reason remind of The Pretenders, which is the track that plays long after in this head. The song is amongst those that satisfy without inspiring but the evidence that is lingers long after is a sweet argument against that comment.
It is the maybe the obvious but certainly punchier pop rock songs that do make their mark more readily and quickly, the instantaneous delights of ‘Being Unaware’ and ‘Oblivious’ hard to resist and both seem the distinct entry point for a great many into the treasures of Cornerstone and the album. Both songs have again a Pretenders touch this time mixed with the 80’s pop hooks of The Photos and maybe even a hint of early No Doubt. Bright and vibrant they soon have limbs and voices joining in as does the song to complete a trio of pop rock tunes that grab hold and gets the pulse racing ‘High And Low’.
If you are looking for brutal and punishing riffs or venom dripping intensity Somewhere In America is not going to do the job but if smooth sunny melodies and passionate songs are on your menu than the easy but satisfying sounds of Cornerstone will certainly bring something extra to your day.
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