Friday, 1 May 2015

Moxy – 1974-2014 – 40 Years And Still Riding High (CD)

Back in 1976 I used to read a Swedish magazine called Poster. They had really cool posters (duh!) and quite short but informative features on bands like Angel, Legs Diamond, Foghat and Thin Lizzy. In one issue there was a short feature on a new Canadian band said to sound a bit like Deep Purple, but heavier. They had just released their first album and the name was Moxy. I was sold before I’d even heard the album. My band Paradize later on even covered “Sweet Reputation” from the band’s third album “Riding High”. Sadly their singer Buzz Shearman had been replaced by Mike Reno (later in Loverboy) on their fourth release, “Under The Lights” and after that the band vanished. Fast forward to 2000 when the band partly re-united and released the album “V”. In 2003 I also had the privilege to see them live in Sweden. Now, forty years after the band was formed guitarist Earl Johnson has gathered a new bunch of musicians to fly the Moxy banner. The album I’m about to review features re-recordings of all the old classics. In most cases more or less a suicide mission. Just look at David Coverdale’s quite mediocre effort to blow new life into the old Purple classics. Not many bands actually pull it off. I’m not going to say this album blow the originals away. Nope. They will always have their place in my heart’s nostalgia space. But, I will say that this is a bloody great album with killer renditions of the songs. Earl has found the perfect musical companions to pull this one off. Singer Nick Walsh (ex-Slik Toxic) has the same gritty quality to his voice that made me love Buzz Shearman. He also sometimes remind me of another of my favourite singers; Johnny Gioelli (Hardline). Drummer Alexis Von Kraven (ex-Heavens Fire) would have made Bill Wave proud with his heavy and dynamic playing. Guitarist Rob Robbins (Rhett Forrester) pitches in with some killer solos and bass player Oscar Ansetti (Rabid Hole) really handles the lower frequencies perfectly. I’ve heard recordings and live videos of Moxy with different personnel during the last 15 years, but this is mithout a doubt the best, most vital and energetic line-up. They treat classic tracks like “Can’t You See I’m A Star”, “Moon Rider”, “Nothing Comes Easy”, “Out Of Darkness”, “Young Legs”, “Riding High” and “Midnight Flight” with care and respect, yet giving the songs a new youthful injection. They have also re-recorded the sadly missed B-side track “Trouble”, a great rocker indeed. The production is crispy, crunchy and powerful, more like a respectful upgrading of the old sound. I can probably count the “re-make” albums I actually like on one hand, but this is definitely one of them! Great job, indeed!
Janne Stark
Label: Escape Music
Year: 2015
Country: Canada

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