ALBUM: The Answer – Revival

Release Date: October 3rd, 2011
Label: Spinefarm/Universal
Website: www.theanswer.ie
MySpace: www.myspace.com/theanswerrock

Rating:

The Answer are walking a tricky line. They could easily become a tribute nostalgia band, reliving and reproducing the sound made by the old classic bands that influence them, namely Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. But unlike, say, Airbourne, who stray as close to their hero’s signature noise as it’s possible to get, The Answer may have got the balance just right, between the sound of the greats and their own individual identity.

If there is one thing to say about ‘Revival’, it’s chock full of riffs. It is a master class in chunky, bluesy riffage. From the wonderfully Southern-rock slide guitar of opener ‘Waste Your Tears’ to the balls-out rock ‘n’ roll power chords of ‘Nowhere Freeway’, to the teched out riffola of ‘New Day Rising’, there’s plenty of variety for the guitar enthusiast. Despite this virtuosity of the axe-wielding variety however, the plodding rhythm section is tiresome and repetitive. If you listen to an album for the drums, ‘Revival’ isn’t for you.

This is a minor gripe though, and one that is quickly forgotten when vocalist Cormac Neeson lets loose. His voice is soulful, raspy and powerful, like a liquored-up gospel singer, and it works perfectly within The Answer‘s sound. ‘One More Revival’ is his crowning moment and the highlight of the album as a whole, with all the elements of their music coming together: tales of boozy love and rock ‘n’ roll told through a killer-catchy chorus, feel-good lyrics and a riff worthy of Angus Young himself.

The themes of their music are as cliché as they come, but it’s done with such enthusiasm and fun that it’s quite easy to let yourself get swept along with it. There are rare instances where they over-step the mark, such as on the balladry of ‘Tornado’ and the schmaltzy verses of ‘Can’t Remember, Can’t Forget’. It’s fortunate that these songs are rescued by some soaring choruses that stop them from careering into cheesiness. The weakest song on offer here is closer ‘Lights Are Down’, which feels as much influenced by the chilled out alternative of Incubus as it is the rock groups of the seventies. Here the band really show their limits as a contemporary group, with Neeson struggling not to belt out all his lyrics, and the rest of the band lurching through the load/quiet dynamics jarringly.

It’s a disappointing song to end on, but it’s not enough to tarnish the experience of ‘Revival’. This is good-time blues rock; it may not be very edgy or current, but it’s a fun album with an infectious spirit. There’s a wealth of great riffs and uplifting choruses, and though at times they sound dated, the strength of the song writing and the band’s conviction is enough to make this an enjoyable and worthwhile listening experience.

Written by Grant Bailey

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