One of the bands back in the 80’s who were on the verge of a big breakthrough was Great White. The band had some success with albums such as Once Bitten, Twice Shy and Hooked, but they never really got to the major league. The band has since then broke up and reunited more times than you can count, with members walking in and out of the band constantly. I guess, nowadays they’re mostly famous for being the band who set a club on fire by accident with fatal casualties including their then guitarist Ty Longley.
The band was then fronted by original lead singer Jack Russell as the sole original member and my guess is that Jack is the most famous member of the band. However, in recent years, Russell’s ongoing battle with drink and drugs has taken the better of his time. Which has made the rest of the band take care of business without him and tour with stand in singers such as Paul Shortino (King Kobra) and Terry Illouis (XYZ). That formula seemed to be working out well as the band has now fired Russell.
The new singer spot was taken by Illouis for the recording of their brand new album. Russell is now out of rehab and touring with his own version of Great White, but for me, Great White was never a band that shook my tree by any means, so the news that they now had put out an album without their most interesting member didn’t exactly arouse me. Although, I couldn’t help feel a little interested in how it would sound. Terry Illouis might be a pretty good singer, but his band XYZ were never anything to hang on your christmas tree. Another reason for me not to go ape over this new constellation. So the first spin of the album really took me by surprise. Because this is good. Very good, actually. I will even go as far as calling Elation their finest hour since the late eighties.
The band was always a rhythm n’ blues influenced band. More than a melodic rock or glam / sleaze gang, with Led Zeppelin as their main thing, with Jack Russell’s Robert Plant-ish voice and this path they still follow on this CD. It turns out that Illouis was a great choice as a replacement for Russell as he really pours his heart out on here.
The album’s opener ”(I’ve Got) Something For You” grooves with a rhythmic and bluesy heaviness, same goes for ”Feelin’ So Much Better” with its striking hooks and hellish catchiness, ”Hard To Say Goodbye” is a ballad with a 70’s Stones vibe that sticks like glue, ”Shotgun Willie’s” is a fearsome party rocker that will kill live for sure and ”Lowdown” is a blues groover and a favourite here. Such a shame it’s labeled as a bonus track, as it really shouldn’t be. ”Promise Land”, on the other hand, sounds more like Warrant than Great White and even though it’s pretty good, that one could have been the bonus track! ”Just For Tonight” is classic Great White, ”Love Is Enough” is a heartfelt ballad with extra goose bumps and ”Complicated” is an excellent rocker that will boot your butt live. I never thought I would write this, but Great White has made one hell of a come back album. Illouis fits like a glove and the band feels like they really mean business.
I wonder how Jack Russell is gonna top this.?
Jon Wilmenius (8/10)
1. (I’ve Got) Something For You
2. Feelin’ So Much Better
3. Love Train
4. Heart Of A Man
5. Hard To Say Goodbye
7. Shotgun Willie’s
8. Promise Land
9. Lowdown ( Bonus Track)
10. Just For Tonight
11. Love Is Enough