HURTSMILE – HURTSMILE (REVIEW)

Released 21st January 2010 on Frontiers Records

Even with the Extreme reunion in full swing, Gary Cherone has found time to release this album with his new band.

Gary has an instantly recognizable voice. Love him or hate him, he always sounds like he’s having fun.

Musically, there are definitely parallels with Extreme (“Jesus Would You Meet Me” anyone?). There’s less funk, but the same sense of freedom oozes through the veins of this record. Check opening track “Just War Theory”, “Kaffur” or “Slave”.  There’s not really a lot of surprises on the album. Well maybe the reggae of “Just War Reprise” or the Dylan-esque “The Murder Of Daniel Faulkner”. Other than that it’s mostly easy going, groovy hard rock. Of course there’s ballads. “Painter Paint” is a particularly tender tune. There’s more than a hint of Zeppelin in “Beyond The Garden”.

What this album illustrates is that the much-maligned Cherone really was a good option for Van Halen, even if you wouldn’t say so from the horrible “III” (I liked it! – Editor).  He has the David Lee Roth swagger and sense of fun and adventure.

Inevitably, the guitar playing isn’t at the level of Extreme. But there is no insult intended with that statement. Comparing a guitar player to Nuno is like comparing a drummer to Neil Peart. You just can’t win… Markus Cherone (yes, Gary’s brother) puts in a valiant effort and is by no means a slouch.

Even without Nuno, I’ll take this album over “Saudades De Rock”.

Rating – 90%
Review by Sancho

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