Ghosts Of Sunset – No Saints In The City

No Saints In The City Album Cover Art

Ghosts Of Sunset – No Saints In The City
Golden Robot Records
Release Date: 14/09/2021
Running Time: 41:40
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

There’s something so comforting about familiarity, isn’t there? Familiar tastes and smells. A go-to song when you need a sonic hug. Your own bed when you arrive home after a trip. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling; nostalgia that puts you in your happy place and takes you back to good days and good times. Ghosts Of Sunset, our subject here today, basically epitomize that nostalgic familiarness, and wrap it up in a cosy bow for the listener. I had the pleasure of reviewing their EP “Headed West” earlier this year, and having the chance to trip down nostalgia lane again by reviewing “No Saints In The City”, their latest release, was something that I couldn’t let pass me by.

In case you didn’t read my EP review (tut tut. Don’t worry, there’s a link at the bottom of this review so you can rectify that) here’s a bit of history. Ghosts Of Sunset are an American 80’s Rock/Hair Metal project featuring singer-songwriter John Merchant, and drummer Todd Long. These two gents have been kicking it in the music business for a long time and were joined on the EP by some classic names. “No Saints In The City” has come about after the roaring success of that EP. And I’m very glad it has. While this isn’t as conceptual as the EP, each song tells a melancholic story of times gone by, but in a happy and upbeat way, that is 100% classic hard rock and hair metal, but that also draws inspiration from 70’s punk and rock ‘n’ roll.

This is an album that not only brings back the sound of the 80’s completely, but demonstrates some fine writing skills, both lyrically and musically. It’s got high octane numbers, and classic ballads. It’s got face melting guitar solos, catchy riffs and hooks, great vocal harmonies, punchy rhythms and gravelly, rocky lead vocals, that tell of long nights fuelled by rock ‘n’ roll! It is impossible not to tap your feet and nod your head along to the sounds, nothing is fussy or overcomplex, and nothing outstays its welcome.

One of my favourite tracks on the album is title track, ‘No Saints In The City’, which was actually the first single released from the album. It’s an up-tempo ballad about the quest for the protagonist to “make it” on the streets of New York City. It’s masterfully put together, and tells a great story, in such a familiar way that you will be singing along by the second line of the chorus. (The elephant in the room with this song, however, is the fade out at the end [*sighs and facepalms*]. Please don’t fade…please, please, please! It irritates the living hell out of me!)

This really is a great album that makes you smile. There’s one weird song opening that I can’t get my head around though – on, ‘Bastards Of The Bowery’. It sounds like an early 2000’s Nokia 3310 ringtone. And since connecting that thought with the opening of this track, I can’t unhear it!

But, if you’re looking for a nostalgia trip done brilliantly well, this album needs to be in your playlist.

‘No Saints In The City’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Tonight
02. No Saints In The City
03. Look Me Up (If You Come Down)
04. If You’re Not Coming Back
05. Queen Of Used To Be
06. Love Ain’t Enough
07. Bastards Of The Bowery
08. Puzzled Heart
09. Tonight You’re OK
10. Us Against Them
11. Something To Believe

LINKS:

LINK TO BETH’S REVIEW OF THE “Headed West EP”

Ghosts Of Sunset Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Ghosts Of Sunset – Headed West EP

Headed West EP Cover Art

Ghosts Of Sunset – Headed West EP
Golden Robot Records
Release Date: 05/02/2021
Running Time: 25:05
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

The 80’s was an interesting decade in a lot of ways. Fashion, the beginning of the tech boom, and some really crazy stuff going on around the world. I was only born 10 days before the 80’s started, so I don’t remember much of it happening at the time, but, thanks to historical archives, the dots can be joined up. One thing I do remember is 80s hair! And the eponymous sound of 80’s Rock and Hair Metal.

Personally, I think some of the best rock and power ballads ever written came out of that era. And, it would seem that American 80’s Rock / Hair metal inspired project, Ghost Of Sunset, agree! The brainchild of singer-songwriter John Merchant, and singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Todd Long, their mission with this debut concept EP, “Headed West,” is to illustrate the story of the rise and fall of a fictional mid-western US rock band, getting lost in the changing music scene of 80’s L.A. They’ve enlisted a host of big names to help them bring this to life, as well, with musicians from the likes of L.A. Guns, RATT, Enuff Znuff, KIX, and Lita Ford, all involved with its creation.

I have to say, it’s a heck of a big story to fit into one 6 track EP! So, have they managed it? Well, let’s find out!

‘Headed West’, the opening, and title track, is an upbeat little number, perfect for a journey down a dusty highway, with the air of excitement and glorious wonderment buzzing along with you. It’s classic Rock ‘n’ Roll. And this theme continues through track 2, ‘Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Show’. This would be the perfect soundtrack to an upbeat advertisement for the ideals of 80’s young America. There’d be fast pans across crowded clubs, full of enough hairspray and back-combing to power the international space station for a good year. Everyone would be dancing, and smiling, and having a great time. Then you’d get the closeup cutaways of pretty girls laughing and pulling funny faces, and handsome guys, lighting up another Marlboro, and swigging from a cool Budweiser, while a killer rock band were giving a huge performance, in the background, on a stage the size of a postage stamp.

Then ‘3 Miles In-Between’ sweeps in. This takes things down a bit, and here we start to see the cracks forming, the yearning and longing for home, and the exhaustion of the punishing touring, and always having to put on your best face, that kept 80’s bands afloat. This is essentially one of those great ballads that I was talking about earlier, and it has a proper guitar solo towards the end of the track, completely in keeping with the soaring solos of the day!

This slowed down theme is continued in track 4, ‘Never Goodbye’. But here, we’re introduced to a new edge within the lyrics – bitterness and disillusionment – ‘You’ll tell them the truth, it’s all just a lie, just say goodnight, never goodbye’ being a perfect example of this. The plastic perfection of this era simply didn’t allow for open negativity.

Track 5, ‘It’s Not Over’, and the final track, ‘Try It For Love’, run through becoming resolute to their fate, with an almost ‘dead behind the eyes’ acceptance, and then finding peace in the realisation that it’s not all just about perceived success, but that, in fact, real success comes from within. It’s in the joy, and love, that just making music brings. Well, that’s how I see it, anyway.

Musically, this epic tale, neatly packaged into 25 minutes, is very pleasing. The songs are all expertly written, with nothing overstated, and skilfully executed by all the players (but then you’d expect this really, with the amount of talent and experience Ghosts Of Sunset has called upon). But for me the thing that makes this a great EP is it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s everything that says great 80’s Rock / Hair Metal. There’s nothing new here, and there’s no flashy, all singing, all dancing, ‘shiny, shiny’. But there doesn’t need to be. If you’re looking for a new sound, this will not be for you (unless of course you’ve been living in a cave and have never heard any music before, ever!). But, if you, like me, are a sucker for some nostalgia, then this EP will make you smile, a lot!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Headed West
02. Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Show
03. 3 Miles In-Between
04. Never Goodbye
05. It’s Not Over
06. Try It For Love

LINE-UP:
Todd Long – Songwriting, Guitar, Bass, Drums and Backing Vocals
John Merchant – Songwriting, Vocals
+ many guests!

LINKS:

Ghosts Of Sunset Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Jefferson Starship – Mother Of The Sun EP

Mother Of The Sun EP Cover

Jefferson Starship – Mother Of The Sun EP
Golden Robot Records
Release Date: 21/8/2020
Running Time: 32:07
Review by Mark Pritchard
9/10

On what is a freezing day in a fresh new year (it is the UK, so technically a normal day!), after what was a hell of a 2020, I find myself sitting at my desk while trying to stay warm (which isn’t really happening)! But, even though the outside of me is feeling the cold, the inside of my body’s warming up nicely, listening to “Mother Of The Sun”, the most recent EP by legendary Rock and Roll band “Jefferson Starship”. I actually received this EP a few months back, but with everything I had going on, as well as COVID-19, I have only recently been able to get my head straight enough to write again. And listening to “Mother Of The Sun” has actually been really helpful to listen to, as it has nice soothing/relaxing songs that have picked me up little by little.

Jefferson Starship are an American Rock band, that were initially formed in the 1960’s as ‘Jefferson Airplane’. Under this name, they produced hits including both ‘White Rabbit’ and ‘Somebody To Love’. In the 1970’s they became ‘Jefferson Starship’ and released 11 studio albums. But then it was all change again, and when I first encountered them, they were under the name ‘Starship’. I was born in 1988, and as I grew up, I enjoyed listening to their songs ‘Sara’, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ and ‘We Built This City’ (a personal favourite of mine). They stayed under this name until 1992, when they changed to ‘Starship feat. Mickey Thomas’. But now they’ve returned to ‘Jefferson Starship’ and released their first EP “Mother Of The Sun” 18 years after their last studio album was released.

I have been listening to this EP for a few months now as, during that time, life decided to kick my behind, and I’ve only recently been able to get my head down to review it. And, if there’s one thing I can say about “Mother Of The Sun”, it is that it gives off the feel of the band history, and with songs like ‘It’s About Time’ and ‘What Are We Waiting For’ it takes me back to being that little kid again, listening to their familiar sound on the radio! With the experience of David Freiberg who joined during the last year of ‘Jefferson Airplane’, Donny Baldwin who joined when the band was previously named ‘Jefferson Starship’, more recently Cathy Richardson, (who re-joined in 2016 after being with the band from 2008-2015), and Jude Gold in 2012, you have the best of the ‘old rock’, with beautiful instrumentals and guitar solos that remind me of yesteryear, blended with the new. This makes for a record that would fit right in with anyone’s playlist.

After listening to “Mother Of The Sun” as much as I have, I’ve concluded that my standout song from this amazing EP has to be, none other, than ‘What Are We Waiting For’. From the short guitar solo at the start, the really delicate, soft, vocals to the chorus of the song, it stands out so much, and is such a relaxing song to listen to. Whether it be at a time of happiness, or when feeling down, this song just hits the soul.

TRACKLISTING:
01. It’s About Time
02. What Are We Waiting For
03. Setting Sun
04. Runaway Again
05. Embryonic Journey
06. Don’t Be Sad Anymore
07. What Are We Waiting For (Extended)

LINE-UP:
David Freiberg – Vocals & Acoustic Guitar
Donny Baldwin – Drums, Percussion & Backing Vocals
Chris Smith – Keyboards & Bass Guitar
Cathy Richardson – Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Jude Gold – Lead Guitar

LINKS:

Jefferson Starship

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Mark Pritchard and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

King Bull – What Happened Here? EP

King Bull – What Happened Here? EP
Riot Records
Release Date: 30/10/2020
Running Time: 18:11
Review by Martin Bennewith
8/10

Sometimes it is nice to sit down and listen to a good bit of rock music – music that has a familiar ring to it and that doesn’t try to be anything out of the ordinary. I kind of get that feeling with King Bull. King Bull are a young Canadian rock band, playing music with a style that is long before their time, and they pull it off well enough. I would describe it as rock with a touch of punk, with a swirling vocal style against dirty guitars and a driving rock beat. ‘What Happened Here?’ is a 5 track EP that demonstrates well what King Bull are about, that is, no nonsense, energetic rock.

The first track ‘Pay Attention’ has a fitting title – it is a short number, with distorted guitar, energetic vocals, and some neat simple fills. It has a positive vibe to it, and is a nice way to start.

The second helping, ‘Secret Sauce’ follows the same formula but is slightly less rough around the edges than the first – and is stretched out with more rhythmic builds and guitar fills. Once again, the vocal work is full of energy, and the stirring vocal style works really well here.

Track three ‘Dontcha Know’ has a different feel to the first two – it is not quite a rock ballad, and the best way to describe it is like a cross between Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and Guns N’ Roses knocking on heaven’s door – so again it is pure rock with uneasy vocals, sometimes fluttering, sometimes screaming, but always true.

Next comes ‘The Defender’ – and this one is very raw – it is probably the most punk sounding track on the EP, it is just raw dirty guitar energy and screaming vocals. The beat is driving and carries the track forward at a nice pace.

We finish with ‘B-side Baby’ – this track has a more serious storytelling feel to it, it has more defined sections, and holds back in parts to emphasise the vocals. There are some nice guitar feels once again and an epic guitar and scream fuelled finish to wrap things up.

Because of the unpretentious and simple nature of this EP there is not too much to say about it, so this was quite an easy review to do  – it is rock music as it should be, and it really speaks for itself. 8/10.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Pay Attention
02. Secret Sauce
03. Dontcha Know
04. The Depender
05. B-Side Baby

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Martin Bennewith and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.