Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora is back with his third solo release:
Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
Richie Sambora’s fist solo release for 14 years shows a more personal side to the man behind some of the greatest rock anthems of the last 30 years, as he indulges both his guitar heritage as well as the slick production of Bon Jovi’s megahits.
Flying out of the blocks with a blast of retro blues swagger, the opening bars of Aftermath of The Lowdown are as steeped in Samora’s bluesy roots, as it is raw power. The painfully simple but effective effect drenched riff backed with high alarm like note wails, driving organs, a long forgotten extended emotional guitar solo and catchy vocal hooks sets the bar high.
What’s apparent, is this opening gambit, Burn That Candle Down, a vastly different song from his day job money spinners which sets the album out on a great trajectory. Which is why I was a tad surprised to find that the next tune tilts and fades towards standard jovi-esque balladry.
In fact this becomes a distinct theme throughout the album as songs flit from high octane hard rock numbers soaked in punchy blues licks and rollicking keys to Richie’s smooth soft pop rock crooners (even if the lyrical content is far from uplifting covering many unhappy memories including his divorce for one). The former however burst with vitality and insistent energy which is equal parts hard rock riffing, harmonic squealing and driving power chords. Nowadays layered power chords and Sugar Daddy’s na-na-na’ing riff driven riot showcasing the best this rich rawkus vein has to tap. The latter heard on Every Road Leads Home To You feels like just another Jovi ballad, as does much of the uninspiring tail end of the record. The pick of these lighter swayers being Seven Years Gone, a lamenting tale of woe which is both heartfelt and uplifting.
Only when the two approaches are combined does a true Sambora signature spark spring to life. Takin’ A Chance On The Wind, showcases this approach with a superb popped up mid tempo, almost country tune flexing trademark fret board flashes of genius, smooth vocals and a powerful layered multi instrumental backdrop.
Sambora’s vocals are solid throughout and are probably at their best when effect loaded in the up-tempo mood. His soulful voice however does almost as fine a job as his partner in crime JB Jovi’s with balladry, only without those high notes.
This release has finely trodden the line of adding in early blues influences without alienating both Sambora’s core fan base of soppy ballad babes and bon jovi boys. In pleasing all, inevitably this leaves Aftermath of the Lowdown without top marks, but it has scored well enough in the ‘good time rock and roll category’ to warrant a firm recommendation for all rock, blues and pop lovers.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 7/10