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Keel: Streets of Rock & Roll

With the 25th anniversary reissue of Keel's landmark release The Right To Rock (also reviewed here), comparisons are inevitable between that highly regarded set of songs and Streets of Rock & Roll which is the band's first new music for some 21 years.

Unlike many of the numerous eighties and nineties bands that have reformed in recent years, Keel have decided to stay true to the brash rockin' style that made their name in the first place. With four members from the band's classic line up (Ron Keel, Marc Ferrari, Bryan Jay and Dwain Miller) also taking part, I'm glad to say that this is a bone fide reformation and not, as some less scrupulous people have, a way for one band member to hijack his old band's name, and hope to cash in on former glories. Ron still possesses a gravely rasp, however in the passing years the surprising thing is, if anything his attack and register seemed to have improved. Ferrari is still the musical focal point and while he may not dazzle in the way he once did, that's only because he is no longer blazing a new guitar trail, but treading a path that he was one of the first to clear. He still has the ability to rip out some sharp riffs and fire off classy solos.

So does it match up to their much vaunted earlier material? Well, in truth the answer is not quite. The songs are sharp and contain enough bite to convince, however across the twelve tracks there's just not enough genuine stand out moments. That's not to say that Streets of Rock & Roll is a poor disc, in fact it's anything but. It's just that the likes of "Gimme That" are just too safe and even taking into consideration the band's expressed intention to "not reinvent our style", at times some of the tracks feel like they are trying too hard to fit into the Keel "mould".

Having said that, the likes of "Come Hell Or High Water", "Hit The Ground Running" and "The Devil May Care" do put Ferrari's great guitar work to good use and Keel's voice has never sounded as strong as it does here.

If you are already a Keel fan, then you will want to visit the Streets of Rock & Roll, however for those interested in hearing what all the fuss was about (they did sell over 2 million albums you know!) then I would recommend starting with The Right To Rock.

Track Listing
1. Streets Of Rock & Roll
2. Hit The Ground Running
3. Come Hell Or High Water
4. Push & Pull
5. Does Anybody Believe
6. No More Lonely Nights
7. The Devil May Care (But I Don't)
8. Lookin' For A Good Time
9. Gimme That
10. Hold Steady
11. Live
12. Brothers In Blood

Added: January 13th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 2746
Language: english

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