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Stewart; Kenny: The Brains Behind The Scam

Better known as the lead singer in 70's rockers Dirty Tricks, Kenny Stewart has in recent years been seen fronting the excellent tribute act Stairway To Zeppelin. However after an absence better counted in decades than years, Dirty Tricks resurfaced in 2009 with the well received download only album Up At The Nine Count. Now a year later Kenny has obviously rekindled his recording fire with The Brains Behind The Scam being his debut solo release. Now when I say solo, I mean SOLO. Kenny handles all the vocals and guitars, as well as all the other assorted programming, production and mixing. And therein lies the problem with TBBTS, while Kenny is a tremendous singer (something he illustrates over and over on this disc) and a fine, if limited guitarist, the lack of a band to flesh out the decent ideas on this album is a real let down.

The drums sound is an immediate drawback, with a swishy hi-hat, thunking kick drum and flat snare thwack really not allowing any of the interesting ideas and impressive vocals room to breathe. Add to that what could best be described as a "challenging" mix and you are left with a set of songs that promises much, but delivers little more than a muddy wall of sound. Sometimes the vocals actually struggle to be heard and if I was to brutally honest, the vibe of the whole thing is that of an unreleased demo, rather than a finished debut solo album. What makes this even more disappointing, is that the actual song writing is above average and Kenny sure knows how to lay down some thick riffs that attempt to punch his message home.

With a better mix the likes of "Misery Loves Company" with its full on guitar attack and varied vocal approach, or the cleverly constructed "Down In Four At The Boneyard" could be big bold anthems, instead they feel like they lumber under the weight of what should make them great, with the "drums" in the latter being particularly off putting.

For fans of Kenny's previous work, I'm certain that there is enough here to make this a worthwhile purchase. However in terms of truly showcasing the talents of Stewart, I just wish The Brains Behind The Scam had maybe brought a few accomplices on board.

Track Listing
1. Tears To A Glass Eye
2. Secret Sign
3. BBD
4. Kick Me
5. Down In Four At The Boneyard
6. All Jazzed Up And Ready
7. Crown Of Thorns
8. Broken Glass And Bullet Holes
9. The Great Divide
10. Misery Loves Company
11. Bullet (With Your Name On It)
12. Cradle To The Grave
13. Hypnotized
14. Break My Fall
15. No-Win Situation
16. Urban Cabaret

Added: September 21st 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Kenny Stewart MySpace
Hits: 1777
Language: english

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