The Answer – Raise a Little Hell
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Around this time every year I get a craving for green beer and corned beef and cabbage–which is odd I know because am generally a Pescatarian. I am only Irish by association and this has very little to do with St. Pats Day approaching…. Green beer and corned beef just seem like the right thing to do in spring time. Much like the upcoming release of The Answer‘s next album Raise a Little Hell. Which, for the record, I am–one green brew at a time!
Note: I am talking here of the band from Northern, Ireland…not the apparently other four bands that exist. (Three of which, are from the U.S.). So, a lot of you people out there may think you have “The Answer”… But for my money this is the only The Answer, and I really don’t even care what the question may be. (Follow me?).
Consisting of Cormac Neeson on vocals, Paul Mahon on guitars, Micky Waters on bass, and James Heatley on drums, The Answer bring forth a sound of fury and good old-fashioned rock and roll thunder. Side note: Cormac met Paul in school: Like so many great musicians meet. So, I have to say if you’re a musician and you hate school, stay in any way as it may lead to a career push. Now, back to the review at hand. The band formed in 2000 and have put out four previous albums. I for one cannot understand why they have not had more worldwide acclaim as they clearly deserve it and I am putting it out in the universe to give them a hand up into eternal stardom with this fine record.
We are presented with so many “nuggets of crunchy goodness” on Raise a Little Hell and it all starts with the rumbling bass line from Waters that opens “Long Live the Renegades”; a track steeped in the bluesy riff driven vibrance that once endeared bands like Deep Purple and Bad Company to our rock and roll hearts.
A nice, rolling groove and big harmonies carry us to “The Other Side” before bringing the swagger out on “Aristocrat”; a track which offers up some righteous harmonica playing. As they so often do, “Cigarettes & Regret” lead us into the “Last Days of Summer”. The song delivers a rich and full-bodied intro of drums and bass soon joined with awesome fret work and deep, soulful vocals from Neeson. Well, I felt my body just melt into a gooey mess. (Trust me you’ll see what I mean).
Perhaps the most poignant moments on the record comes with the melodic melancholy rush of “Strange Kinda Nothin'”. The band teeters on the edge of pop-country here, but Neeson’s gritty vocal delivery keeps it firmly in the rock roots of its Irish kin like Thin Lizzy and Kopek.
As for my personal favorite off this album it has to be “I Am What I Am” as I have listened to it numerous times and can’t help but get a visual of “Bruce” (the shark from Jaws) in some sort of bar fight. I am convinced this song would be his life anthem if he was indeed conscious of rock music and the concept of dirty bar fights.
The band doesn’t ease up and slip into late-album mediocrity like so many others do. “Gone Too Long” is edgy and soulful, while “Red” is casual cool in a tight dress on Friday night.
Slide guitar fires up “I Am Cured”, which sways like a conjuring medicine man slick with snake oil and the devil’s juju. This rolls into the album’s final song and title track, “Raise a Little Hell”. Neeson preaches from the dusty pulpit, his blues harp dueling against Mahon’s tastiest guitar performance on the record.
You can see and feel that they were a bit influenced by Deep Purple and AC/DC, as they toured with both bands. But they twist it all into a signature sound that is purely their own magnificent creation and we are lucky enough to bear witness to it. The Answer have created a ballsy and bluesy sermon for the masses.
Life may throw a lot of questions at us, but the answer is The Answer; so, Raise a Little Hell… I give it *5 three-leaf shamrocks out of 5, so that’s, what? Like 25 altogether??? Entity says check it out…