Legendary Rainbow/MSG/Alcatrazz/Impelliterri vocalist Graham Bonnet returns with his second Graham Bonnet Band album for Frontiers Records, this one titled Meanwhile, Back in the Garage, containing thirteen new songs plus a bonus DVD with a concert appearance at Daryl's House in Pawling, New York from early 2018. The line-up for this album is Bonnet, Joey Tafollo on guitars (since replaced by Kurt James), bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone, Jimmy Waldo on keyboards, and drummer Mark Benquechea.
Plenty of hook laden hard rock material here, led by Bonnet's still strong pipes, smoldering keys courtesy of ex-Alcatrazz/New England member Waldo, and the neo-classical guitar stylings of Tafollo. "Incest Outcest U.S.A." is a fun piece, full of roaring Bonnet over Tafollo's sizzling solos, while the title cut and "The Hotel" rock hard with no shortage of six string pyrotechnics. "Long Island Tea" is one of the heaviest songs here, Waldo's creepy synths a backdrop to some crunchy riffing and pounding rhythms underneath a savage Bonnet vocal. "The House" will be a must hear for any Alcatrazz fan, Tafollo doing his best Malmsteen impression, and the band dive into galloping power metal fury on the ripping "Sea of Trees", complete with some savage soloing from Joey. As seems to be the lyrical trend on the album, another USA themed song "America...Where Have You Gone", again sees the band hitting on some familiar musical trends for all the old time Rainbow and Alcatrazz folks in the house, which is always a good thing, and the tender closer "The Crying Chair" is almost like a second cousin to Alcatrazz' "Suffer Me", complete with some gorgeous acoustic guitar from Tafolla.
Though we weren't given the DVD portion of this set for review, I did watch the live streaming performance of the Daryl's House show (bad weather forced me to miss this show live in person), and the band were in fine form playing many of Graham's best known songs from throughout his career along with a few gems from the first GBB album. As for Meanwhile, Back in the Garage, it's a very solid album that is probably weighed down by 2 or 3 too many songs, a couple being fairly underwhelming & generic and could have been left off. The rest however is quite strong and show Mr. Bonnet still able to write some memorable hard rock fare as well as sing up a storm.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
01 Meanwhile Back In The Garage 5:03
02 The Hotel 5:42
03 Livin' In Suspicion 3:56
04 Incest Outcest U.S.A. 4:15
05 Long Island Tea 4:29
06 The House 4:31
07 Sea Of Trees 4:46
08 Man On The Corner 5:04
09 We Don't Need Another Hero 4:45
10 America... Where Have You Gone 4:54
11 Heading Toward The Light 4:21
12 Past Lives 4:53
13 The Crying Chair 5:59
14 Starcarr Lane (Live From Daryl's House NY 2018) 4:04