Fireworks

CD Reviews

Eric Bell - 'Exile' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     November 24, 2016    
 
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A rich, highly personal sounding record that makes you thankful some of the old guard are still standing to deliver.

The ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist pleases himself on this his solo album that cares nothing for modernity or current trends. The result is a rich, highly personal sounding record that makes you thankful some of the old guard are still standing to deliver.

This isn't the Hard Rock attack that Lizzy became famous for. Instead, Bell wears his own schoolboy influences on his sleeve with his playing and tone owing much to Lonnie Donegan and The Shadows. He also throws in some Blues, Jazz and Rock 'n' Roll.

Bell's a guitarist not a singer, but he does a marvellous job throughout conveying emotion. He's the anti- X-factor voice and the music is all the better for it. On the title track Bell plays his electric guitar unaccompanied by either bass or drums. Its stark quality gives it a raw, intimate feel that conjures up Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska'. 'Gotta Say Bye Bye' has big Jazzy chords and an excellent Jazz vocal; it captures that late night angst and reminds you that Bell and Van Morrison have drunk from the same well. 'Don't Love Me No More' produces a surprisingly good Funky vocal, yet during 'Vote For Me' Bell comes across like a grumpy old man when satirising politicians. You can sense the pure unadulterated joy of playing a favourite that you've grown up with on the cover of Little Richard's 'Rip it Up'; it captures that era to a tee, swapping the piano for Bell's stinging guitar. Only 'Concrete Jungle' strays into the more plodding Blues Rock that a lot of his contemporaries might fall into.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Song For Gary' with its unusual arrangement is the standout; with a guitar tone and feel reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac's Albatross, with Bell's talked lyrics telling a story about Gary Moore. The fact that Moore is no longer with us makes this a powerful, affecting song and a very fine tribute. That sentiment of losing someone is felt again on 'Thank God' that seems to make out that Bell is happy that the spectre of fame, and that the demons that often come with it, overlooked him when they've claimed so many of his generation.

We should be thankful too because this is a great mature Rock album that could only have been made by a man with years in the business and from that special generation who lit the torch paper on what we know today as Classic Rock.

Duncan Jamieson

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