Myles Kennedy is a name that most fans of modern rock will be familiar with, thanks to his iconic status as Alter Bridge‘s frontman since 2003. This powerhouse guitarist and vocalist been around the block after his extensive time in the rock ‘n’ roll arena, that’s for sure, and is now pouring his years of experience into his second solo album, ‘The Ides Of March’.
It’s tough when you’re branching out as a solo artist, particularly when the band from which you hail are titans in their field; with their debut album certified gold and several top ten singles under their belt, Alter Bridge is a pretty gigantic shadow to be stepping out from under. After the first few licks of ‘The Ides Of March’ from opening tracks ‘Get Along’ and ‘A Thousand Words’, it feels like breaking out from Alter Bridge will be an impossible feat. It’ll please existing Myles Kennedy fans, but it feels tired and predictable.
But, as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover (or an album by its first couple of tracks). Myles Kennedy moves away from that 2000s post-grunge more and more as the record goes on, with more of a soulful, country feel creeping in. That earthy twang and soft guitar is similar to the gentler American rock of bands like Three Doors Down and, while it’s a little dated, it’s enough for him to separate himself from his previous work.
This is brought home even harder with ‘Wake Me When It’s Over’, which injects life into the album with gutsy, punchy riffs, and a catchy chorus, and ‘Love Rain Down’ which shows off his impressive vocals by stripping it back and showing us a rare gentler side.
As the album comes towards its close, it almost does a complete 180° from its grotty, grungy start. ‘Wanderlust Begins’ is an American anthem through and through, all about hanging in there waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel, in the most optimistic of ways, which seems fitting for right now. ‘Sitting Through The Fire’ follows in the same vein, giving the album an optimistic end note. Even though the album’s final track ‘Worried Mind’ is obvious, the positive light of the previous two songs give it an unexpected twist.
It’s not revolutionary and, as is the case with many artists of this genre, the formula of ‘The Ides Of March’ is tried, tested, and in need of an overhaul to make it sound fresh for 2021. However, Myles Kennedy‘s sophomore solo effort shines a light on his strongest attributes, from his rich vocals to his formidable guitar skills, and neither of those are in short supply.