Following a three year break to fit in some time on the road with Guns ‘N Roses, 2018 sees the highly anticipated return of Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. (The Conspirators being Brent Fitz on drums, Todd ‘Dammit’ Kerns on bass, and Frank Sidoris on guitar.) Living The Dream makes Slash’s fourth studio album since going solo in 2011, and third with Kennedy and The Conspirators.
‘The Call Of The Wild’ opens the album with a quirky vibe, somewhat reminiscent of World On Fire’s ‘The Dissident,’ before quickly exploding into a classic, catchy riff that could only belong to Slash. Kennedy’s one-of-a-kind vocals soaring to new heights, all held together by the powerful drumming delivered by Fitz, ‘The Call Of The Wild’ proves to be the same Slash, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators we’ve come to know and love, with the anticipation of a huge remainder of the album to follow.
‘Serve You Right’ follows up as a funky, upbeat number, with the rhythm section taking the lead this time around making it quickly a song that’s hard to sit still to and is sure to go down a treat in a live setting. ‘My Antidote’ gives Fitz a chance to shine, whilst still remaining to be a classic Slash song, the same way as the likes of ‘Avalon’ off their 2014 release World On Fire.
The latest single to be released off Living The Dream, ‘Mind Your Manners’ feels like a natural progression for the boys, trying some new things, particularly in Kennedy’s vocal delivery on this track, while still managing to stay true to their trademark sound. You wouldn’t change something that isn’t broken, but pushing the boundaries to make it even better than before? You’d be stupid not to! ‘Mind Your Manners’ is a hugely powerful track, likely to be a true highlight of upcoming live sets. Fear not, there are some slower tracks on Living The Dream also, the first of which being ‘Lost Inside The Girl.’ A bluesy track, really tying together the overall sound of Kennedy’s solo record Year Of The Tiger, released earlier this year, with the almost ballad-style plugged in feel of Slash and co.’s previous work. A combination which makes for a new sound for these guys, but one that plays on each member’s individual strengths and works so well.
‘Read Between The Lines’ transports us straight back to the ‘80s in the best possible way. Opening up to somewhat of an eerie vibing track, crossed with a big singalong chorus, Living The Dream definitely breaks new ground for these guys, well and truly proving they’ve got so much more left to offer us. ‘Slow Grind’ brings the bass to the forefront in a way that not many songs do. Throw in a killer guitar solo, and you’ve got yourself another groovy track.
Taking things down a notch, ‘The One You Loved is Gone’ makes for the first acoustic track for these guys. Stepping back to duet vocal duties with Kerns, ‘The One You Loved Is Gone’ gives ‘Battleground’ some serious competition. Jumping straight back in, lead single ‘Driving Rain’ brings back the tried and true sound of Slash and the boys. Fast paced, upbeat and catchy, it’s another clear winner – and even pays homage to ‘Standing In The Sun’ off Slash’s first album with Kennedy and the Conspirators, Apocalyptic Love. I’ll leave it to you to see if you can spot it…
In keeping with the paying homage theme, ‘Sugar Cane’ opens with an all-too-familiar feeling guitar riff, reminiscent of the Apocalyptic Love era. Bringing in a heavy bass riff, hard-hitting drums and a new vocal vibe, ‘Sugar Cane’ bridges the Slash sound of new and old perfectly. Changing up the guitar sound for once, ‘The Great Pretender’ brings that bluesy feel back to the forefront, tied together perfectly with Kennedy’s stripped back vocal delivery. Not brushing the incredibly talented rhythm section aside, it’s always a breath of fresh air to hear an album that allows the drums and bass to shine by their own merit, as this album does so well.
‘Boulevard Of Broken Hearts’ is the most anthemic track on the album. Bringing a solid bass riff to the forefront, it comes with a real singalong feel to the chorus, making it sure to be a huge live track. Living The Dream not only bridges Slash, Kennedy and The Conspirators’ previous work with somewhat of a new direction, but it still manages to stay true to their trademark sound we’ve come to know and love, whist also stepping into new territory for these guys. A combination that is not only iconic, but makes crystal clear how much they’ve evolved as musicians – and still have room to evolve. Showcasing that these guys can do no wrong, it all comes together in another solid album from start to finish.
“Living The Dream” OUT 21st September 2018