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Bullfrog: Clearwater

Hailing from Italy, power trio Bullfrog clearly wish they'd grown up in the deep south of America, such is their love of Bluesy Hard Rock, with classic acts such as ZZ Top, Govt Mule or even Cream rolling out of the amp. Yet with singer (and bassist) Francesco Dalla Riva having a striking vocal similarity to a certain Cormac Neeson, The Answer also come strongly into the Bullfrog equation. So as you'll gather, the formula is simple; pick out a groove, make your body move and set the controls for steamroller over everything in sight with a loose precision that rocks as much at it rolls. However Bullfrog decide they aren't one-trick ponies and while everything they do is Blues based and dripping with riffs marked killer, "Slow Trucker" reels in any exuberance for a Top experience of the double Z variety, "Say Your Prayers" slows it down in a keen Bad Company like style, while "Better Days" closes the album in acoustical Zeppelin fashion.

However, ear catching though the variances are, there's no point denying that "No Salvation" punches through on strikingly forceful vocals and the guitar goodness of Silvano Zago, who is faultless throughout. Francesco's brother, Michele Dalla Riva puts in a hefty shift behind the kit (no passengers can be found in this power trio), pounding out the message to which his band mates add their voice. "Isolation" hits with less strident force, the groove ably relied on to prove this song's point, before "Monster (Give Me Some Mean)" infuses proceedings with a hefty hammering of Hammond from guest Simone Bistaffa. This sidestep offers a keen mix of Clutch-lite and James Taylor Quartet and with irresistible little motifs from both guitar and Hammond hooking you in, the superb layered vocals seal the deal for the best song on a universally engaging album. Hugely respected guitarist Jimi Barbiani shows up to add trademark slide-guitar to the slow, deliberate and infuriatingly memorable title track and yet none of these guest slots (and there's more) overshadow the key element of Clearwater, which is a set of crafted (yet not overly) songs that keep you coming back for more.

Those in need of a shot of traditional, yet expertly constructed Blues Rock need to become acquainted with the power-house-trio that are Bullfrog and their life giving Clearwater.

Track Listing
1. No Salvation
2. Too Bad For Love
3. Isolation
4. Slow Trucker
5. Clearwater
6. Monster (Give Me Something Mean)
7. Say Your Prayers
8. Lorraine Lorraine
9. Sout Of The Border
10. Long Time Boogie
11. Better Days

Added: November 15th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Clearwater at Grooveyard Records
Hits: 2665
Language: english

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