CD Reviews

REX BROWN – SMOKE ON THIS….

Written by David Malpass

Wanna go for a ride? Grab your car keys, start your engine, turn up the stereo and head out on a long journey to nowhere in particular on a summer evening, because Rex Brown (Ex Pantera, Down, Kill Devil Hillis about to release the soundtrack to that journey. At the end of July 2017, Rex Brown releases “Smoke on This…, the fist solo record of this long career and one that sees him take the leap from his usual, familiar position of bass guitar to guitarist and singer. 

As the first track ‘Lone Rider punches in with it’s hard, sleazy riff , it’s clear that ‘Smoke On This...‘ is going to be an authentic, dirty Hard Rock album. Rex’s rocky, bluesy vocal sits in the track perfectly with it’s gravely drawl that invokes thoughts of smokey bars and wired off stages that protect the band from flying bottles, like in the 1989, Patrick Swayze movie; Road House. The themes and tone of Smoke On This…’ swing from the driving Hard Rock of track four; Train Song’, to sounds of a hazy, psychedelia,that bring influences of The Beetles’ and ‘Led Zeppelin’ to mind. This is never more present than in ‘Get Yourself Alright’, which features heavy, phasing vocal effects and lazy, meandering melodies, at the same time as rocking a hooky chorus that’ll have you singing along and banging your steering wheel. 

By the midway point of this album it’s very clear that Rex Brown has created a modern day Rock Classic, as the rhythmic, Zeppelin-esque riffs of What Goes Around.. gives way to the laid back, heady vocal harmonies of Grace. Throughout this album, I was happy to be pulled along by each dynamic, beautifully written and constructed track that culminates with the almost anthemic One Of These Days‘, a track that’ll have many a lighter (..and it needs a lighter, not a damn mobile phone) waving in the air. 

Smoke On This.. isn’t what fans of Rex may want or expect but It’s a refreshing change and an album that I feel can be a more that one thing, depending on your mood. It’s heavy enough with riffs and catchy hooks to blast at parties yet subtly nuanced enough to chill out to with headphones. It’s evocative of a simpler time in music when substance took priority over style and you could rock just for the Hell of rocking. With the release of this album, Rex Brown has smoothly moved from being the cool charismatic backbone on bass to a fully fledged singing six stringer who drives confidently from the front.

9/10 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track list

1. Lone Rider

2. Crossing Lines

3. Buried Alive

4. Train Song

5. Get Yourself Alright

6. Fault Line

7. What Comes Around…

8. Grace

9. So Into You

10. Best Of Me

11. One Of these Days

Label

Steamhammer

Release Date

28 July 2017

About the author

David Malpass

My friends call me Mally. I'm a vocalist, frontman, performer, and lifelong metalhead. Music has been my passion for as far back as I can remember and tends to dominate all aspects of my life and personality. I've been fortunate to have been asked to share some of that passion through All About The Rock

1 Comment

  • You`re dam right Mally! After reading so much shit about this album it`s your review that clearly expresses my own thoughts about ” smoke on this”.
    Regards from Germany
    Peter

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