Albums like this smells corporate legal all the way. There is a contract in place and the artist has to deliver. The artist in this case is Slash, a guitarist that need no further introduction. A solid guitar player, who has come up with few of the most well-known guitar licks in rock history during his time with Guns ‘n Roses. And no doubt about it, Slash have been living the (rock) dream more than most other artists. The singer besides him on this album, Myles Kennedy, probably have got his fair share of the same lifestyle as well. That is no health camp. So why is that important for this review? Because you can hear. It is obvious. The routine is all over the album. Not even the super professional production can hide it.
It all kicks off with a rather unexpected country twang in “The Call of the Wild” and throws the band right into the context they probably are looking for – a sold out American tour. But after these first bars, there are no more surprises. Slash and Myles carries out the all American rock tradition with tiresome perfection. It is music that actually reminds me of the bacon and cheese burger I used to have at the diner on Main Street in Peoria, Illinois. No more and no less. You get exactly what you pay for. Myles, Slash and the rest of the band is impeccable – anything else would have been surprising. The only problem is that I don’t think it is enough for 2018. The riffs, the melodies, the lyrics and even the titles have all been used hundreds of times before. Everything is on auto pilot. Almost.
On the tracks “Lost Inside the Girl” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” I actually sense some true feelings behind the facade. When these talented musicians lower their energy, their accumulated tiredness shines through. Something finally grabs my attention. Think of it, these guys have been on everything your mother told you to avoid. They live with addictions that has torn apart everything that decades of constant touring did not succeed to destroy. In interviews with Slash he also mentions the well thought-through irony of the album title. The way I see it, without these two tracks the album would have been unbearable.
But who cares? The Nightliner is ready. The gear is packed. Peoria, here we come. It’s only rock ’n roll.
Band: Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & Noise Conspirators
Title: Living the Dream
Label: Roadrunner Records
Date of release: 2018-09-21
Stand out track: Lost Inside the Girl