It is about time people accepted Glenn Hughes' solo material as a different entity from his past works with Trapeze and Deep Purple. While it cannot be ignored that Hughes has fronted some of the most important bands in the history of rock, he has also had a solid solo career as well as stints with other important figures, including Joe Lynn Turner and Tony Iommi.
Music for the Divine is a very brave record -- and perhaps because of the fact that it guests Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante and drummer Chad Smith as well as Dave Navarro, it borders into more of a funkier territory than his last set of releases with Iommi. Backed by fantastic string arrangements and keyboard work by Mark Killian, Music for the Divine is one of his most modern sounding releases, particularly shining on the opening track "The Valiant Dream", one of his most daring and experimental pieces of recent times. It boasts a curious mix of psychedelic-like guitar lines with occasional accoustic bursts and a symphonic edge. It also follows a very uncoventional pattern, as it sees JJ Marsh's guitars providing texture rather than mindblowing lead solos and Hughes does a good job fitting the song with his vocals. Tracks like the hard-rocking "Steppin' On", the rhythmically challenging "Monkey Man", and the totally off-the-wall "You Got Soul" all include funky bass lines and drums, interspersed with clean-toned guitar harmonies.
Hughes also offers ballads in the form of "This House", a predominantly acoustic piece; and the wonderful "Frail", which sees his bluesy vocals take the lead atop a beautiful symphonic arrangement. This song is quite a feat, as it sounds pretty much nothing like Hughes has sung before. Chad Smith also contributes slick piano work to the album alongside tight rhythmic grooves. He is also responsible for the production of the album, which might explain his relatively more up-to-date sonic punch. "Black Light" contains a cool percussion and dynamic vocal shifts, and a burning guitar lead by long-time guitarist Marsh. His playing on this song draws parallels to his work with the Flower Kings' keyboardist Tomas Bodin's solo record. Special mention also goes to the wonderfully sweet guitar melody of "Nights in White Satin", a song featured on the European version of the album, but it is definitely worth tracking down if you are a Glenn Hughes fan. Not only is it filled with a cool lead, but it also stands out for its cascading main melody and moving vocal harmonies.
Overall, this is yet another collection of eclectic songs and a great vocal performance. While many of his peers keep treading the same paths they did in the 80's, Hughes has the courage to step out of his cage and put out tight compositions, bringing in some of the finest guest musicians to realize his intentions.
(Please note that my copy is the European pressing of the CD which contains a bonus track called "Nights in White Satin".)
- The Valiant Dream
- Steppin' On
- Monkey Mad
- The HOuse
- You Got Soul
- Black Light
- Nights in White Satin
- Too High
- This Is How I Feel
- The Divide