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Great White: Elation

In the exceptionally niche world in which they inhabit Great White have caused a tidal wave of ructions because of the split with erstwhile lead singer Jack Russell. Mr Russell now fronts his own version of the band, acrimony abounds, internet trolls have a field day, even those who still care are beginning to snooze and lawyers are getting rich. Terry Illous is the man to step into Russell's shoes and despite what some (quite a few to be fair) say elsewhere I think he's fitted in very nicely indeed. Taken on its own merits I think Elation can be judged a success.

Elation isn't Great White trying to sound like they did thirty-odd years ago, in many ways it is a continuation of the more acoustic-style from Back to the Rhythm from a few years back. One thing Elation is not, let me repeat, NOT is a Blues record. Sure there are elements of the Blues within the confines of the record but you won't find any Robert Johnson type re-workings here. This is a straightforward rock 'n' roll record which I for one find pretty satisfying.

It leaps out of the gate with "(I've Got) Something for You" which bounces along like a crazed puppy and sounds not unlike "Thrill Me" by the Undertones and yes I am aware how obscure that comparison is but do yourself a favour and check that one out. There are many very fine songs on Elation, none more so than the final couple "Love is Enough" which is a lovely mid-paced ballad and "Complicated" which sounds like the Black Crowes at their best. I'm giving this one a definite thumbs up. Over to you Mr Russell because as for now this line-up (Terry Ilous– lead vocals,Mark Kendall– lead guitar, Scott Snyder– bass guitar, Audie Desbrow– drums and Michael Lardie– guitar,keyboards IS Great White.

Track Listing:

  1. (I've Got) Something for You
  2. Feelin' So Much Better
  3. Love Train;
  4. Heart of A Man
  5. Hard To Say Goodbye
  6. Resolution
  7. Shotgun Willie's
  8. Promise Land
  9. Lowdown (Bonus Track)
  10. Just For Tonight
  11. Love Is Enough
  12. Complicated

Added: June 9th 2012
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3277
Language: english

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Great White: Elation
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-06-09 06:37:14
My Score:

Over the last few years Great White have become better known for their soap-opera like existence. Which is a shame when you take into account their more than worthy catalogue of bluesy hard rock. Whether it be the band's ex frontman Jack Russell nose-diving off the front of a stage or two, the then dismissed singer deciding to take his ex-band-mates to court to wrangle over the Great White name, or the tragic, avoidable, venue fire which led to the death of around 100 Great White fans (the gig was actually more of a Jack Russell solo show and the fire most definitely the fault of the venue and not the band), but bad news has seemed to be round every corner for this once big-time act.

Musically however Great White have actually maintained quite a high standard throughout their lengthy time together, with their ever bluesier sound being remarkably authentic and comfortable. Elation, the first Great White for three years and the only one not to feature Jack Russell on vocals, follows in a similar vein, with XYZ frontman Terry Illous bringing his rich, gravely tones to a set of songs that are just a touch grittier than previous GW efforts. However if the return to form that took shape in 2007's Back To The Rhythm was right up your street, then Elation will also tickle your fancy. Understated and happy meandering from acoustic riff to electric bluesy twang, via the odd toughened burst, this is an album that I have to say is far better than (given the band's recent history) I had dared hope for. The more up-tempo shots of "(I've Got) Something For You", or "Just For Tonight" get the party going and the beers a flowin', but it is the more refined and considered "Promise Land", "Love Train" and the simply gorgeous "Love Is Enough", with its wonderful Chickenfoot like vibe, that really hit the spot. That said, there's no denying that the killer groove, swagger and shimmy of "Shotgun Willie's" steals the show completely, with an irresistible hook, snagging its prey with no difficulty whatsoever. Add to that some great guitar playing from Mark Kendall and Michael Lardie and an accomplished, hard hitting Great White debut from Illous and Elation really is a pretty darn good effort.

As with previous Great White albums, the one area that proves a slight problem is the sheer length of the songs - taking 12 tracks and stretching them comfortably over the hour mark. In isolation none of the songs themselves feel overly long. However as a continuous listen, it can get a little bogged down and samey.

On this evidence, rumours of Great White's demise are entirely unfounded, with Elation being a solid, convincing comeback from this much troubled band.

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