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MUSIC REVIEW: KANE ROBERTS – The New Normal

| 30 March 2019 | Reply

Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Release Date: January 25, 2019

Rating: 88%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I still remember the first time I ever saw Kane Roberts – he was the lead guitarist in Alice Cooper’s band back in 1986 when Cooper came through Detroit.  After that, my next exposure (other than his work on Cooper’s catalog in 1986-1987) was his sophomore release, 1991’s Saints & Sinners (which still gets regular rotation in my collection).  As that album still rocks almost 30 years in, I couldn’t wait to hear what Kane would unleash in 2019.  Disc opener “King Of The World” is a great track that kicks off gentler than I anticipated from Kane, but fear not rockers, this song soon morphs into a killer rock track.  The addition of another Alice Cooper alumni – guitarist Nita Strauss – give this track guitar sounds that differ slightly through the verse and chorus, but nicely compliment each other.  This song has set the bar for the rest of the disc in energy and sound.  “Wonderful” slows the pace a bit, but the layered lyrics on the chorus bolster the songs sound and depth.  The tempo and cadence of the drums are breakneck through the verse and breakdown into the chorus, giving this song a complex feel.  This features ex-Cooper drummer Ken Mary on BG Vocals.   “Who We Are” is another track that slows the pace down a but, but Kane’s vocals paired with Katt Franich gives the songs a cool duet vibe that gives this ballad a smoldering sensibility behind the lyrics.  “Leave This World Behind” is a cool track that allows Kane to blend his heavier rock vibe and sound with that of song co-writer and modern rocker Brent Smith.  Be sure to hang out through the verse and chorus to digest the guitar solo on the bridge.  “Leave Me In The Dark” is a moody rocker that shows off Roberts vocals and blends them with his guitars and some layered keyboards.  This one also features multi-layered vocals from Roberts and Franich on the chorus that build the song up and keep it from dropping off into obscurity.

“Beginning Of The End” reunites Kane with his previous employer as Alice Cooper jumps on board for some great co-lead vocals that are split between Kane, Alice, and another killer vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, who throws some melodic vocals over top and tosses in some well-placed growls to catapult this track to another level.  The three different voices mingling together give this song the most diverse sound of the disc.  “Forever Out Of Place” is one of my favorite tracks on the disc.  From first listen and through every spin of the disc (yes, I ran out and bought this one), the song had a rock sensibility that I couldn’t put my fingers on until I read the liner notes and realized this is the best Shinedown song the band passed on.  Kane put his own vocal spin on this Brent Smith penned track.  “The Lion’s Share” is another co-write with a writer that has been hot over the last few years, when this pairs Kane with Lzzy Hale and producer Dave Bassett.  The song has some of the deepest lyrics on the collection, but the musical accompaniment draws out the nuances of the track and vocals.  This is one of a handful of tracks to feature bassist Kip Winger (another Alice alumni that shared the stage and studio with Cooper during Roberts’ tenure).  “Above & Beyond” is the final of three Brent Smith co-penned tracks on the disc and the darkest of the trio.  The song has flashes of Smith’s writing, but is a great song to let Roberts flex his vocals a bit and deliver another song that fits perfectly alongside the rest of the disc.  Disc closer “Wrong” has a different vibe woven into it from first note to last, but also has a contagious sound to it that draws you in as soon as the chorus kicks in.  The guitars, keyboards, and vocals all swirl together in a perfect storm of sound that captures the mood of the lyrics – a great way to close out the disc and prompt you to hit play to spin in one more time!

Tracklisting: King Of The World – Wonderful – Beginning Of The End – Who We Are – Forever Out Of Place – Leave This World Behind – The Lion’s Share – Leave Me In The Dark – Above & Beyond – Wrong

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THE NEW NORMAL – ITUNES

Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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