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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Tuesday 30 April 2024

FM - 'Old Habits Die Hard' Album Review


Old Habits Die Hard

In an uncertain world where we are seeing wars being fought, economies crashing and Trump still being a massive bell, its good to know that some things never change - such as an album dropping every other year from AOR and British rock stalwarts, the mighty FM.

The album has been released to coincide with their 40th anniversary (1984-2024), which is a huge milestone because there are not that many AOR/melodic rock bands around, let alone producing new music especially with any consistency. In FM’s case prolific doesn’t describe them enough. Its no good being prolific if the quality isn’t there. Thankfully FM rip up the rulebook and in ‘Old Habits Die Hard’ they have produced some of their finest work since 2010s Metropolis.

Following 2022’s ‘Thirteen’ album, ‘Old Habits Die Hard’ was delayed slightly by keyboard player Jem Davis’ cancer diagnosis (thankfully he’s now received the all-clear) and then by the sudden passing of FM’s founding guitarist Chris Overland (Steve’s brother), which hit the band hard.

“Chris’s passing came out of the blue and it was devastating,” says Steve. To add insult to injury, close friend of the band and longtime collaborator of Jim Kirkpatrick, guitarist Bernie Marsden passed away just two days after Chris.”

The tragedies that plagued the band through the recording process only reinforced FM’s resolve and desire to make the best album that they could to represent their 40 years in the business. The new album is also a fitting tribute to Chris Overland.

On a first listen, it feels like Steve et al (sorry I went all David Coverdale for a moment there) have been Digging Up The Dirt on what used to be the standard offering back in the 80s where you could hear  more than a passing influence from the likes of Toto and Bad Company in particular.

Opening song ‘Out Of The Blue’ takes the Toto AOR/West Coast vibe and its a very smooth sounding track that bands like Toto and Chicago would kill for today. I hate the term Yacht Rock, but in Overlands case its more like Train Rock, as he is the Biff Byford of AOR who share a passion for trains (Crosstown, Runaway, and now, Midnight) which leads us to ‘Don’t Need Another Heartache’. The riff is in ACDC territory, but this song is so Bad Company, and Foreigner sounding, I had to check that they hadn’t got their mate Mick Ralphs in on the guitar solo. ‘No Easy Way Out’ digs deep into his bag of lyrics and comes up with lines that only SO can deliver without being sugar coated. It also has the FM huge hook (pat.pending). I still don’t know how FM aren’t filling stadiums with songs like these, especially with the trademarked 5 part harmonies they offer. 

I've seen a comment that FM are playing it safe with ‘Old Habits…’. No, they are not. I think its more early FM than reformed FM, but that doesn’t mean it been played safe. 

‘Lost’ is one of the smoothest songs they have ever done. If it was any smoother it would be a deluge of dewdrops (look it up). ‘Black Water’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album. It’s the kind of slow burn that gets under the skin after repeated listens and makes FM stand out from the rest of the bunch, and it gives Jim Kirpatrick the reins to play his heart out. Its a fire-cracker of a song.

Leap Of Faith comes out of the traps like a stabbed rat. It's the heaviest song on the album, and proves that FM can rock as much an anyone else, only with infinitely better vocals and harmonies, with Overland singing his arse off. Plus I’m a sucker for a bit of Hammond (B-3, not Alison). Once you see a song called ‘California’ you know what is to come. It is also the perfect companion piece to 2015’s ‘Life Is A Highway’. We are very quickly at the sharp end and ‘Blue Sky Mind’ comes from the pen of Jem Davis who wrote about his cancer diagnosis. The a cappella beginning gives me goosebumps. 

Many, many bands have reformed from the 80s, but none of them are doing it better or more consistently than FM. ‘Old Habits..’ was self produced, and it’s one of the best sounding albums of their career.

Without a shadow of a doubt, it is the best album since Metropolis. Old Habits certainly do Die Hard (with a vengeance)

Score 9/10

Paul Chesworth

Tracklisting - 

Out Of The Blue

Don’t Need Another Heartache

No Easy Way Out


Whatever It Takes

Black Water

Cut Me Loose

Leap Of Faith


Another Day In My World

Blue Sly Mind

Saturday 30 December 2023

Top 10 Albums of 2023 (and a few extra)

Well dear reader its that time of year again. I appreciate the number of visits to this site that you made (well over half a million now). It’s much appreciated for a one man band of a site. It’s been a bit of a restricted year, with not many albums reviewed at all, so the Top 10 in this list are all albums I have purchased in 2023 and all come highly recommended.

1. Rival Sons - Darkfighter/Lightbringer

Darkfighter just shaded it for me out of the 2 offerings in 2023. Rival Sons has seen each album getting better than the last. I’m not 100% sure that Darkfighter is better than Feral Roots (yet), but I would have also preferred this to be a double album. To quote the Fuzzlord, Darkfighter is ‘cinematic’ which is a perfect description, and Lightbringer ‘watching the same film’. I have been watching these guys since 2011 and few bands can match them. 

Hot Track - Nobody Wants To Die / Mosaic

2. Romeos Daughter - Slipstream

Romeos Daughters first release in 8 years since Spin makes Guns ’n' Roses look prolific in their output. But….give me time over prolific any day of the week. You see, RD have never made a duff album and with Craig Joiner pulling the strings together with Leigh Matty's sultry and velvety vocals enveloping you like a warm blanket - it (Slipstream) really is Heaven In the Back Seat

Hot Track - Over You 

3. Dirty Honey - Cant Find The Brakes

Dirty Honey have been conquering the UK and Europe for the last two years. Similar to Rival Sons, Alter Bridge and now Dirty Honey, these bands are more appreciated on this side of the pond than their homeland. Their sophomore album carries on where the EP and debut album left off. In Mark LaBelle and John Notto they have one of the best rock pairings since Jon Bon and Ritchie

Hot Track - Won’t Take Me Alive

4. Steven Wilson - The Harmony Codex

Whilst SWs ‘The Future Bites’ didn’t light much of a fire for me personally, its what makes Steven Wilson one of music’s great artists. He doesn’t stand still. All albums sound different, he is always pushing the envelope and rightly so. Just when you think you have the measure of him, he releases something completely different. Impossible Tightrope sounds like it’s from a 70s soundtrack to a Dirty Harry movie and then just adds more sublime layers - a choir, true prog rhythms, and seagulls. Yes, seagulls. Its 10 mins of pure unadulterated joy. Its YYZ for the twenties.

Hot Track -  Impossible Tightrope 

5. Chris Stapleton - Higher

Higher is CS’s fifth album, and bugger me its a great one. He started off in a rock band and did what is now known as a Michael Bolton, switching sides and became a songwriter and then performer. His top 5 songs on Spotify have a total (as of time of writing) of 1.8 Billion listens. No wonder his UK tour next year sold out quicker than….well, Chris Stapleton tour tickets

Hot Track - White Horse

6. Crown Lands - Fearless

Got a Rush sized hole in your life? Look no further than fellow Canadians, Crown Lands. Only in this instance they are only two. Drummer Bowles has a range every bit as high as Geddy Lee, and in Comeau multi talented doesn’t do the guy enough justice. Starlifter:Fearless Pt.II has its roots firmly planted in Hemispheres and 2112.

Hot Track - Starlifter:Fearless Pt II

7. WVH - Mammoth II

As talented as Comeau is, Wolfgang Van Halen takes it up a notch. The Van Halen name means that he will always be compared to his dad. With Mammoth II WVH has levelled any such comparison. II is more accomplished than the debut and shows he isn’t a flash in the pan and living off the name. He has even inherited the knack of making a stand out video to accompany his songs in a time when bands aren’t doing this anymore. Check out the 8minute ‘Another Celebration At The End of The World’. If this doesn’t bring a smile to your face, nothing will.

Hot Track - Another Celebration At The End Of The World

8. Ayron Jones - Chronicles Of The Kid

Thanks to my mate in the US, Gene I might never have come across AJ. Only been a fan for 2 months and his 2020s output has blown me away. He really deserves to be massive, and not in an obese way. He is probably the best solo artist you have never heard of…yet after Steven Wilson. I think 2024 is going to change that. ’Chronicles….’ is peppered with great songs. 

Hot Track - Blood In The Water

9. Those Damn Crows - Inhale/ Exhale

In late ’22 TDC supported Monster Truck. It was my first time seeing and hearing TDC and completely became a fan as they levelled The Ritz in Manchester. I/E is clearly their best album yet and are a band quickly going places. TDC dip into Alter Bridge territory with This Time Im ready, a song about the loss of Greenhalls father that resonates to everybody who has lost a loved one

Hot Track - Takedown

10. The Answer - Sundowners

I saw The Answer early on in their career supporting Alter Bridge and they blew me away. They petered away with a flicker, but returned seven years later with all guns blazing. Neeson is one rocks finest vocalists. They deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Rival Sons, just give it time and they will hopefully

Hot Track - California Rust

A few more lists....

Best Gig(s) - Overland Kirkpatrick, Romeos Daughter, The Sheepdogs, Marcus King, Larkin Poe, Dirty Honey

Best Support Band - Those Damn Crows, Ida Mae, The Sheepdogs, The Damn Truth 

Best Reissue/Box Set - Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous

Top 5 AOR

1.Romeos Daughter - Slipstream

2.Nitrate - Feel The Heat

3.Steve Overland - Six

4.Streetlight - Ignition

5.The Defiants - Drive

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Steel Panther - 'On The Prowl' Album Review


Steel Panther - On The Prowl

By Paul Chesworth

Amongst the rock fraternity, no one divides the rock fans more than Steel Panther. Oh, and Nickleback. Although one website who clearly know fuck all about rock and metal have named Sabbaths Heaven and Hell as an example.

There are some people out there who think that Steel Panther are a parody band and shouldn’t exist. These people are WRONG! The other half, like me, think that Steel Panther are coming up with some of the best riffs and songs this side of Tony Iommi’s moustache. Dont get me wrong, these guys can do comedy, and take it to another level, but my learned friend, I would also like to submit Exhibit A (Tomorrow Night), Exhibit B (Gloryhole), Exhibit C (Gold Digging Whore) and my latest Exhibit, Exhibit D, the new (Friends With Benefits) as songs that are just as good, if not better than a lot of glam/sleaze/hair metal bands produced in the heyday of the 80s and early 90s.  Parody my arse!

I wasn’t overly enamoured with the last two albums ‘Heavy Metal Rules’, and ‘Lower The Bar’. Thankfully the guys have used lockdown as the perfect opportunity to get their act in order and snorted their weight in nose candy and have come back in glorious style with ‘On The Prowl’. Apparently they all worked from home, and it has paid dividends. 

The nucleus is still there - Michael Starr, Stix Zadinia, and Satchel. If you have been living in a case for the last few years, Lexxi has gone, and after a porno version of American Idol and a few temporary solutions, the guys announced Spyder into the fold in September 2022.

In today's cancel culture where you tread on eggshells on what you can say without offending anyone, Steel Panther come right out of the blocks and set their stall with ‘Never Too Late (To Get Some Pussy Tonight). In an uncertain World its good to know that some things stay the same. ‘Friends With Benefits’ is the first cut above track. It has LAs Sunset Strip threaded through it like a stick of rock with Satchel delving deep into his bag of 80s riffs. They go mushy with the social media ballad ‘On Your Instagram’, ‘why can’t you look like you do on your Instagram’ telling you everything you need to know in a simple rhyme about todays state of affairs. ‘1987’ is another stand out track with Starr proclaiming ‘Coverdale banging Tawny Kitaen and the World just felt alright’, and ‘the music scene will never be the same, but I didn’t realise that things would get this lame’. Its one of the best songs they have ever written. Thankfully we have Steel Panther on a one man (band) mission to rectify all that was great about the 80s and then some.

If you think that the song titles are a bit ‘normal’, they revert to type (Yay!) with Dweezil Zappa sining up to shred on ‘Is My D**k Enough’, and the wonderfully titled ‘Magical Vagina’, I’d like to know what a magical vagina does? Card tricks? Levitation? Pull a tiger out? 

’Pornstar’ is a song that only Steel Panther could write, AND get away with. ‘If Harvey Weinstein was still free he wouldn’t care if you resisted’. Oof! ‘Aint For Dead’ is a biographical song about getting old and lamenting about times past, but they still have a part to play, and party.

‘On The Prowl’ is an album that gets Steel Panther back on track after the last couple of ‘Panther by Numbers’ albums. Theres nowt wrong with music by numbers, but its back on a par with early Steel Panther music when they were on fire (and I’m not talking about Michael Starrs chlamydia!!)

If you love Steel Panther then this is everything you want from a new SP album. If you are a naysayer then there’s nothing here for you whatsoever, and I don’t think the guys give a flying fuck either way. In an uncertain world, its good that some things never change. All hail Steel Panther.


Tracklisting - 

Never Too Late (To Get Some Pussy Tonight)

Friends With Benefits

On Your Instagram

Put My Money Where Your Mouth Is



Is My Dick Enough (Featuring Dweezil Zappa)

Magical Vagina

All That And More

One Pump Chump


Ain’t Dead Yet

Sleeping On The Rollaway

Steel Panther

Michael Starr - Vocals

Satchel - Guitar

Stix Zadinia - Drums

Spyder - Bass

Sunday 20 November 2022

Live Review - Sweet Crisis with support from Electric Black at The Eagle Inn, Salford, Nov 19th 2022

 Sweet Crisis with ~support from Electric Black, The Eagle Inn, Manchester, November 19th 2022

It was a bit of fun finding a parking space close to The Eagle. The reason? It shits in the shade of the mighty AO arena. It just so happened that there was a gig on tonight with N-Dubz providing the entertainment. I would like to think though that those in the know were descending upon The Eagle Inn to see what would be (as it turned out to be) one of my favourite gigs (and venue) of this year.

Where the AO has a capacity of 21,000, The Eagle Inn has just 80. The 30-40 that did show, got one hell of a gig to tell their friends about. I was already in the know as I got to hear both do a quick sound check and couldn’t wait for the gig to get underway

Firstly we have Electric Black. Coming all the way from Hitchin for a 45 min set takes some doing, but these guys wouldn’t like it any other way. Opening with a working title of ‘Led Hendrix’, it really was a song born from the annals and foundations of rock history, and in singer Ali they have a guy who can sing ANYTHING. This was highlighted on the excellent ‘Love Is A Light For The Lost’. Also Electric Black have their ‘go to killer moment’ with ‘Homecoming', a song that is their own ‘Heaven and Hell’ and ‘Holy Diver’ all rolled into one. Finishing up with ‘Not Afraid To Die’ it is the heaviest song on the album and absolutely is the cream on an already excellent set. Electric Black have been doing this for some time and was evident as they were as tight as a nut. From the mayhem of Animal influenced drummer Matt, and the playing in the pocket of bassist Ryan, to the superb Jonny on lead guitar, Electric Black are going places. If I’d have known they played my nearest venue last week I’d have been there. I am a week late, but the end result is now the same. Catch these guys if you can, as you will not be disappointed. I guarantee it.

Onto headliners Sweet Crisis. I absolutely love it when you see or hear a band the first time and your breath is taken away. Just like EB, my moment was getting ho hear Sweet Crisis debut a few months back. It was a case of being better late than never, but I was blown away by their collection of songs on ‘Tricks Of My Mind’. The band is built on the friendship of singer Leo Robarts and guitarist Piers Mortimer, but more of that later. Opening with ‘Loosen Up’ the quality is immediately there for people to see. Leo is part Paul Rodgers, Glenn Hughes and Steve Marriott, and that is some amalgamation of talent right there, with his best mate at his side these guys are unstoppable. ‘Black Magic’ has some nice 3 part harmonies and is the first highlight of many. 

For ‘Love Me Like Sugar’ if B.B.King and Paul Rodgers (OK, bear with me) had a love child then ‘LMLS’ is the end result. ‘Aint Got Soul’ is one of my favourite songs from their album and hearing it live took it to another dimension, never mind new level. Theres a back story behind ‘I'll Be Creepin’. Leo was into Eminem and Jamiroquai when is dad gave him a copy of Free’s 'Fire and Water' when he was 14. (Yay for dads!) Right there a spark was ignited, which changed young Leo’s life and has never looked back. Leo isn’t keen on covers, but let’s face it, when you have a voice like he has, then it makes for one of the best covers you will hear of a Free classic. Hot of the press was a new song, ‘The Warning’ and it was smooth as fuck (insert better simile here____).

This next song was my favourite of the whole set. Written when Leo and Piers were just 17, it proves that age is no barrier when writing songs. Leo becomes a baptist preacher, and its a quality of song that many a Southern Rock/Nashville band would crawl over their dead granny to get hold of. It was stunning live. ‘Dont Start Now’ was pure blues heaven, and was the shit. At the and of the song one bloke shouted “Fuck yes!” It shows that you can write a review in just two words. I couldn’t have put it better myself. ‘Living “Life On The Edge” had then jamming on a powerful groove and takes me back to the era of bands like Cream and Jefferson Airplane. SC finished strong with the title track ‘Tricks On My Mind’, and a powerful single from 2020 in ‘Rolling In It’. 

It’s hard to vacate the stage for an encore when it is the size of a postage stamp, so they stayed put. Sweet Crisis will probably drop the covers as their song list gets bigger, but when you cover Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’ as well as they do, then its good to throw in a crowd pleaser for us old farts. The guys finished off with a song that got them started and recognised back in 2019, ‘Misty Haze’. I know it’s me repeating myself but this has blues and soul in abundance, and echoes Pink Floyd and Jeff Buckley. The guitar tone was beautiful. What a song to end a gig with. 

Theres a tendency for bands to play their whole album in the early days of their gigs. That may be the case here, but Sweet Crisis have a foundation of stunning songs already that will be a staple of their live gigs for years to come. 

I have witnessed some great fledgling bands this last 12 months since gigs have opened up again - Cardinal Black, The Karma Effect, and now Electric Black and Sweet Crisis. Add the likes of Scarlet Rebels and Florence Black into this mix and British rock music is in very safe hands indeed.

Based on tonights performances I hope that they both continue to record and gig as they both deserve to be heard by much bigger audiences than current. The numbers did not detract, in fact it enhanced it as it felt like a gig in your own living room. We can all say that when they do make it, we were there almost from the beginning. I can’t wait to see what Sweet Crisis (and Electric Black) do next.

Sweet Crisis Set List -

Loosen Up 

One Way Traffic

Black Magic


Love Me Like Sugar

Ain’t Got Soul

Great Big Steps

This Guitar

I’ll Be Creepin’ 

The Warning

Treading In Deep Water

Don’t Start Now

Living Life On The Edge

Tricks On My Mind

Rolling In It

In The Dark

Oh Well

Misty Haze

Sunday 13 November 2022

Kira Mac - 'Chaos Is Calling' Album review


Kira Mac - Chaos Is Calling

Review by Paul Chesworth

Every now and again YouTube throws me a bone to a band `I’ve not encountered before. OK, to give them credit, it does it quite often, but I have a short attention span. Im not a kid where it has to grab me by the bollox in the first 10 seconds, I’ll give it a listen at least until I get to a chorus.

I can’t tell you what I was listening to in the first place, but Kira Mac appeared and it was an occasion whereby I my bollox were well and truly grabbed (so to speak). I will tell you why shortly.

Any who, Kira Mac are making little gains that seem to be gathering momentum - 

  • Steelhouse created a spot for them
  • BBC Radio 2 play
  • Rock n Blues appearance
  • 17k organic vires on YouTube in 6 months
  • 25k streams on Spotify in 6 month
  • Playlist on Planet Rock for all 4 singles

I am 100% certain that all of this achievement will be well and truly eclipsed 6, or 12 months from today. I am that convinced, Ive put a reminder in my calendar to check out the stats!!

Kira Mac are mainly based in and around the North of the UK. Vocalist and reason for the band name Kira Mack along with guitarist Alex Novakovic and bassist Bret Barnes all hailing from Manchester. Joe Worrall (guitar) is from Hull, and new drummer (and doesn’t appear on the album Max Rhead is from Newport. 

Firstly Kira Mac is an unsigned band. This can be for a couple of reasons. Is it because labels won’t entertain anyone unless they have one million straws on Spotify, or is it because it is feasibly possible that an unsigned band can be profitable without the support of a label of any size. If one of my favourite bands (Dirty Honey) can do it, so can Kira Mac.

Right from the off you can tell that Kira Mac have been plying their trade for some time. I really have a soft spot for female vocalists - Leigh Matty, Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson, and the one I want to make particular reference to is one Dorothy Martin. 'One Way Ticket’ is Dorothy. I just wish everyone knew about Dorothy as they are bloody brilliant. So to compare Kira to Dorothy is very high praise indeed. Searing guitars? Check. Sumptuous chorus. Check. Instantly singable. Check. What a start! ‘Hit Me Again’ is in similar vein, and ‘Chaos Is Calling’ has a bone crunching riff that heavier bands whose band logos I can never read would crawl across broken glass for. It still has melody in spades. 

‘Back For More’ (not that one) is a song that’s bluesier and still pushes the right buttons. You would swear that these guys are American. ‘Mississippi Swinging’ is without doubt joint best song on the album. With an opening line like ‘Mississippi swinging got a whiskey sipping honey on my left hand’ you know it's going to be a belter. It's a song whereby if you heard this in a pub, you’d stop drinking and start had banging. The other two highlights being ‘Hell Fire Holy Water’ and massive closer, ‘Dead Man Walking’. It's almost as if Kira Mac have a random song title generator. ‘HFHW’ will go gown a storm live as a singalong moment (I guarantee it), and ‘DMW’ is the song that started it for me. Its based on a massive chunky riff, Kira Macs vibrato vocal styling and tasty guitar solo. “Downfall’ ups the ‘heavy’ to 11 and ‘Never Going to Stay’ is the king to Downfalls yang. ‘Never…’ definitely has a Nashville country influence and is probably the most mainstream sounding song on the album

What Kira Mac have delivered is extraordinary. It is ten songs of pure quality, that after one listen will make you ride that rollercoaster and pay to take the ride again and again. Its not perfect, but it is 35 minutes of absolute enjoyment. I really think that Kira Mac deserve to be going places. The debut album is out at the ned of this week (18th November), and a UK tour follows hot on the heels, starting in Edinburgh two days later (20th November)


Tracklisting - 

One Way Ticket

Hit Me Again

Chaos Is Calling

Back For More

Imagine What Could’ve Been

Mississippi Swinging

Hell Fire Holy Water


Never Going To Stay

Dead Man Walking

Album Line Up

Joe Worrall - Guitar

Alex Novakovic - Guitar

Bret Barnes - Bass

Cal Casey - Drums

Kira Mac - Vocals




Saturday 18 June 2022

Sweet Crisis - 'Tricks On My Mind' review


Sweet Crisis - Tricks On My Mind

I like a good natter with people, both online and in person, especially if said natter is about music. I was friended on instagram by a nice bloke who works with touring bands doing Merch and set up. He suggested I give Sweet Crisis a listen. They was weeks ago so I apologise for the delay. 

The bumf that come with the link states that Sweet Crisis seek to balance all their inclinations and influences - like Free and Lenny Kravitz, nothing is off the table if music sounds right. Their key influences run through their debut album like a stick of Blackpool rock. There is everything from Fleetwood Mac to Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones to The Verve. Thats your appetites well and truly whetted then. 

For the lover of upbeat rock, there is the opener ‘Loosen Up', 'One Way Traffic', and 'Living Life On The Edge' (which has some cracking guitar playing courtesy of Piers Mortimer, and it is wonderfully trippy and exhilarating all in one song. The title track, 'Tricks On My Mind' is snappy and punchy and delivers in spades and reminds me a bit of Rival Sons

For blues rock aficionados there is a magnificent 'Love Me Like Sugar' (my fave track along with ‘Living…’; 'Misty Haze' (great name for a porn star), and is an equally great song; 'This Guitar', and 'Black Magic'. 

Whilst it's not bluesy or rock, there is also the enticing and somewhat mesmerising ‘Ain’t Got Soul’, which I feel should be a darling of the airwaves on Radio 2 if it isn’t already. 

As debuts go, 'Tricks On My Mind' is a little belter. In a saturated market where blues rock seems to be the go to music of choice, I think that Sweet Crisis have enough diversity, quality and wide ranging influence in their armoury to rise above the majority.

The best compliment I can give about Sweet Crisis and 'Tricks On My Mind' is that if these guys had a time machine, you could drop this album into most decades from the 1960s up until the present day and it would fit in neatly like peas in a pod.


Tracks -

Loosen Up

One Way Traffic

Ain’t Got Soul

This Guitar

Karma Will Come

Tricks On My Mind

Misty Haze

Black Magic

Love Me Like Sugar

Living On The Edge

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Plush - 'Plush' Album review


I first came across Moriah Formica (not that way you perv), a couple of few years back when she duetted on a Michael Sweet solo album, ‘One Sided War’. Back in 2016 I predicted great things for her even back then. I’ve kept a distant eye on her career and have been hotly anticipating this debut Plush album after seeing some of the covers they have been releasing. My appetite was completely whetted when they posted their ‘shit-hot’ version of Alter Bridge’s ‘Isolation’.

‘Plush’ is composed of four talented women, under 21, whose accomplishments and talent eclipse their age. This female rock force is fronted by singer, songwriter and guitarist Moriah Formica. Drummer Brooke Colucci, guitarist Bella Perron and bassist Ashley Suppa round out the lineup.

When I said hotly anticipating, I thought it would be a good debut, but I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS. FUCKING. GOOD. If anyone was thinking fluffy girly metal, then you couldn’t be more wrong. After stating recently that Nestor’s debut was one of the best I’ve heard in a long time, along comes Plush with an equally superb debut album.  

‘Opening with “Athena” Plus ready do set their stall out early. It has a really heavy, dirty riff from Bella Perron that Mark Tremonti would be proud of punches you like Bruce Lee only wearing an iron glove. Harmonies are a-plenty, and the rhythm of Brook Colucci and the pulsating bass of Ashley Suppa drive this on to stand head and shoulders in the pack. Throw in Moriah Formica’s stunning vocal range and it make for one sumptuous recipe. Think Ann Wilson or Kelly Clarkson singing for Alter bridge and you will get where I’m coming from. “Champion” “Found A Way” and “Hate” are more melodic, but still pack a hefty punch.  Perron has a great guitar tone and Formica’s vocals are crystal clear. 

“Sober” is a powerful anthem, moving from acoustic to electric and is an emotional ride digging into the lyrical content. “Better Off Alone” is a song where Formica is wearing her emotions on her sleeve, and if auto-biographic, has drawn on some life affirming decisions. Bella Perron earns her weight in salt with her guitar playing. “Sorry” is nicely paced, branding from stripped down to a strong phrasing of ‘Sorry’ for each line of its chorus. “Why Do I Even Try” uses Formica’s instrument (her voice) and interplays with Bella Perron guitar licks. The Princess of Pound (Colucci) and Suppa are up front and centre on the dynamic “Bring Me Down”.  “Don’t Say That” is the true ballad on the album, and shows that Plush have a lot of strings to their bow. If this was the late 80s, Plush would be sitting on a Top 10 Billboard song, and playing arenas within weeks of its release. 

“Will To Win” matches ‘Athena’ for its heavy riff and these songs sit really well in Plush’s wheelhouse. All 4 are on top form here, and Formica’s vocals shine. This is a nice composition and Perron lays down some understated riffs. I just with she was given more slack to let rip with her talent.  It’s only on Closing track “Walk Away” where she has anywhere near an extended solo. Moriah wails ’I’m gonna walk away, walk away from all the pain’ and you know she means it. At 13 songs and 50 minutes it flew by. There’s not a duff song on here and that is something else. 

Plush have clearly done their homework. In Formica they have a singer songwriter that is a shining light in modern metal now, and hopefully for years to come. It easy to over sing when you have an instrument like Formica’s voice. She knows when to be subtle, when to let loose and when to emote.  Add the undoubted quality to Colucci, Suppa and Perron, and its   delicious. The four women complement each other perfectly to become Plush. They have avoided the pitfalls to be a ‘saccharine-coated-look-great-but-no-substance’ band and come out all guns blazing. If they are doing this now, then I cannot wait for what’s to come in the future. 

To write and perform an album that is so contemporary, mature, and with a wink to the past, with all band members at a (relatively) young age is remarkable. Ok maybe not remarkable as I’ve seen their videos leading up to this release so it shouldn’t be a total surprise. They have lived up to my expectations, and gone way beyond it. ‘Plush’ is a simply marvellous album. Look out boys, the girls are here to kick your asses!

I haven’t been this excited about a band since I found Rival Sons, Alter Bridge and Coheed And Cambria. Plush sit in great company

For fans of Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Red Sun Rising

Score - 9/10 

Review by Paul Chesworth

Plush are - 

Moriah Formica - Vocals & Guitar

Bella Perron - Guitar

Brooke Colucci - Drums

Ashley Suppa - Bass

Tracklisting - 




Found A Way

I Don’t Care


Better Off Alone


Why Do I Even Try

Bring Me Down 

Don’t Say That

Will Not Win

Walk Away