Right of the bat, there are no doubts about the influences. Both in music and the way Warwick sings. This reeks of Thin Lizzy. The funny thing for me is that one band that has never been interesting enough for me to put any time into listening to is Thin Lizzy. So, do I like this? Yes, yes I do!
When having a brief chat with the vocalist a little while ago he mentioned that the goal and clear idea from day one was to make a straightforward rock n´roll album. This he has accomplished. And who can argue with a straightforward rock album these days. I would be so bold as to say that in my measly personal opinion this is a really good rock n´roll album. 11 songs all in all. 10 originals and one cover. And you can hear the difference in that. There are 10 good songs and one mal placed one. Gunslinger (Willy Deville) from 1977 just doesn´t cut the mustard.
Other than that, we are taken for a ride in different tempos but all the way through this is what it is set out to be. Rock. You have your speedy stuff like Never Corner a rat, a lovely little duet with his daughter Pepper in Time don´t seem to matter. Pepper by the way supplies one of those kinds of voices that sticks with you. Clean, full of emotion and gripping. Very nice song.
What goes through the album and that is really appealing is the build of the songs. It is not just that it is rock songs, they have a structure to them that is easy to like. Like said, you have your Lizzy inspired songs like the title track, You don´t Love Me & Fighting Heart. You have Still alive (My pick for a favorite) that has a sly slide guitar by Keith Nelson, energy and shifts is the song that is sublime. I get other references as well.
Some songs could easily fit on a Bon Jovi Album (You´re My Rock N´Roll for example), and the music is so reachable that 3 Doors Down would come into the frame. Not for any negative meaning at all, even though this was not so popular references to bring up with the creator of these song. But so be it.
I like the album and that is all there is to it. You make your own mind up, but give it a listen.
Band: Ricky Warwick
Title: When Life was Hard & Fast
Label: Nuclear Blast
Date of release: 2021-02-19
Stand out track: Still Alive
Country of Origin: Northern Ireland/USA
Playing time: 39 minutes