Snakecharmer - Snakecharmer (Frontiers)

Uber-wexperienced industry veterans return with a new lease of life and a spring in the step...
Release Date: 
24 Jan 2013 - 11:30pm


The word ‘supergroup’ is a horrible one, and it gets used – or more accurately overused – an awful lot wherever journalists gather to tell you what albums sound like. However Snakecharmer – formed originally under the unwieldy moniker Monsters of British Rock – can really only be described as such. Formed by guitarist Micky Moody (a man who played on all of Whitesnake’s albums before David Coverdale decided he wanted a bigger, shinier perm) and featuring bassist Neil Murray (also a blues-rock Whitesnake-era alumnus as well has having been in Black Sabbath and a whole host of other  eighties rock outfits), guitarist Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash), drummer Harry James (Terraplane, Thunder, Magnum), keyboardist Adam Wakeman (Yes, Ozzy Osbourne) and vocalist Chris Ousey (a man for whim, despite having a marvellous voice, fame has never come knocking), Snakecharmer have all the requisite parts in place to be huge – absolutely huge.

Of course the qualifier to that last sentence would be ‘if it was still 1986’, because the sort of music these 'charmers purvey – classy, blues-informed hard rock in the vein of Bad Company and Foreigner- hasn’t been in vogue since around then, and that is a crying shame for so many reasons, not the least of which being Snakecharmer as an album is absolutely rammed full of high quality classic hard rock. The likes of Accident Prone, Turn of the Screw and the utterly gargantuan Stand Up are delivered with crushing style and conviction, with Ousey, despite the lack of real big band pedigree appearing first amongst equals. Sounding very much like an English version of Mr Big throat Eric Martin, his voice is absolutely perfect for this kinda stuff, and he revels in the big, melodic choruses provided for him in these two songs. But Moody – the prime mover here despite all ‘band’ ideas put about in the band’s promo spiels – is a bluesman at heart, and Ousey has a rich gravel to his voice that allows him to indulge his boss’ every bluesy whim. Smoking Gun could easily come from any one of those early Whitesnake releases with ol’ Cov at the vocal helm, and Ousey loses nothing in the comparison.

A great album then, the sort of album that just doesn’t get made that often to this very high quality any more. Hopefully the good folks at Frontiers can make sure more than the usual hardcore of eighties diehards (ie old sods like me) get to hear it. It certainly deserves the widest audience possible.