The latest offering from much travelled vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes is a consistant return to 70's styled heavy rock with plenty of balls, bravado, and more importantly, soul. Joining Hughes on this rockin' set are guitarists J.J. Marsh and Jeff Kollman, Ed Roth on keyboards, Gary Ferguson on drums, and former Santana and Brian Auger singer Alex Ligertwood on backing vocals. The CD contains 11 rip-snorting anthems filled with hot playing and Hughes' leather lunged vocals.
The super-charged opener "In My Blood" gets things started with high-octane, Deep Purple styled organ/guitar mayhem, with Hughes adding powerful shrieks that help propel this to one of his strongest songs in years. "Lost in the Zone" is a funky yet chunky riff rocker with searing wah-wah guitar licks and a catchy rhythm section, while "Gasoline" is another vintage Purple inspired hard rock classic featuring furious drum work from Ferguson. The hard driving "Higher Places" bears just a hint of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir", with Glenn's soulful vocals providing the emotional lead over the raging organ and compact power chords. The band settles in for some slow, bluesy fun on "Get You Stoned", featuring great lead guitar work from Marsh and Hollman, which then leads in to the tender ballad "Written All Over Your Face", a nice melodic piece with tasty guitar lines and lots of keys, but somewhat of a letdown after all the great rockers preceding it.
"Standing on the Rock" just might be the best tune on the CD, a searing metal rocker with fuzz bass from Hughes, groovy guitar riffs, and testosterone fueled power vocals. Anyone who doubts that this guy still has it vocally needs to hear this one folks. The poppy yet generic "Courageous" follows, a pretty good song but probably best saved for another release, which then leads into the heavy funk of "Secret Life", highlighted by some cool wah-wah guitar licks and a catchy chorus. There are two bonus tracks included, the straightforward rocker "The Truth", and the crunchy "Wherever You Go." Both fit in nicely with this set.
Songs in the Key of Rock is a strong release from this hard rock legend, filled with heavy tunes featuring great playing and personal lyrics. The "voice of rock" proves he still has it!