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Chinawhite: Different

Chinawhite have a long history behind them, but as with a lot of talented bands that didn’t quite make the ever elusive breakthrough, for an outfit that started some 30+ years ago, they don’t actually have that many releases to their name. Nine years have passed since the band’s second full length album (they also have a demo collection and EP out there) and as you might expect, things are indeed Different since then. With the core duo of Peter Cox (guitars and keys) and much in demand drummer Hans In’t Zandt still staying the course and original keyboard player Rolf Vossen contributing as much as a hearing issue will allow, the spirit of Chinawhite is still intact. Recent times have seen Cox team up with guitarist and singer Phil Vincent in the band Forest Field, as well as collaborating on solo projects and other outfits like Tragik. Hence it maybe wasn’t too much of a surprise when he too joined the ranks to replace singer Don Feltges, with the new line-up completed by bassist Sanders Stappers.

What isn’t so different is the Chinawhite sound, the 80s rock with a progressive edge that has long been this band’s calling card still strongly favoured. Opener “Kiss Of Fire” is a good indicator of what you can expect to find, as big brash chords singe with a melodic intent and Vincent gives one of his most accomplished vocal performances. With lush keys and layered vox it’s a sound that could fill arenas, but there’s also a more aggressive roughness in the guitars and a pushy mix that builds on that more bullish outlook. Interestingly the likes of “Where I Stand” and “Money” look to Pull era Winger for a starting point, a more contemporary riff fuelled approach still embellished by big choruses. Whereas it’s much missed 80s rockers Grand Prix that spring to mind when “Different? Eat It Raw” and “Wings Of The Wind” look to cast their spell. Not maybe exactly as expected, but with a slightly more technical attack, it’s certainly effective.

Good though they are, packing two instrumentals (“Or The Same!” and “Thank You And Goodnight”) into the final three tracks of the album does leave an unexpected taste in the mouth and an unfairly unfinished feel to proceedings that certainly doesn’t come across elsewhere. And while the latter of the two brings a more MHR Queen sound to proceedings, in the end neither really add all that much to the final offering.

Hopefully Different finds Chinawhite fighting fit and reinvigorated, because having to wait nine years between albums isn’t ideal. That said, it has been worth the wait, even if there are one or two rough edges that might well have been knocked just a little more carefully into shape.

Track Listing
1. Kiss Of Fire
2. Where I Stand
3. Hello To The World
4. Money
5. Different? Eat It Raw
6. Wings Of The Wind
7. Mystery
8. Light-Years To Heaven
9. Or The Same!
10. It Means Nothing
11. Thank You And Goodnight

Added: February 24th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Different @ bandcamp
Hits: 1548
Language: english

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