Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Spirit Caravan - Elusive Truth

Wino and his bad-ass power trio continue to carve themselves a homey home, laying out the welcome mat to their highly personal form of stoner rock. I mean, that term barely fits when you are talking a legend like this, Spirit Caravan distinguishing themselves through Wino's warm and woody guitar tone, his Ozzy-like bleat and most of all, his colourful wisdom-swirled lyrics, the man living through the rock wars, the drug wars, poverty, now emerged at the other end as a pursuer of er, elusive truth, a cool guy with man stories to tell. However it's bassist Dave Sherman that takes over on vocals for the hilarious caricature of Retroman, the track laying out a picture of a biker type living in the past that is just too funny. All told though, what you get is a listenable, eventful old timely record of songs, not hard on the ears, not a theoretically cool album but one that is practically useful and enjoyable music of a doomful but hooky variety. Halfway to Monster Magnet, but with a weary foot stuck firmly in the muck of Solitude Aeturnus.
Rating 7.5

Santers - Cold Fusion

Cool to see this smooth, pristine Canuck AOR act back in action, doing reunion shows on the heels of IV, the massive four CD box set released in Japan only, distinguished in that it coughed up an entire unreleased fourth Santers album. A fifth full-length is supposedly on the way, so as a taster we get Cold Fusion, a best of compilation spanning the modestly successful early '80s lifecycle of the band, plus tracks from the weak-ish shelved Top Secrecy album, as well as two of Rick Santers' earliest compositions as quite fine bonus tracks, In Foreign Skies being a complex and proggy rocker, Life In My Hands a little more barroom toward the mid rawk of Moxy or Santers' Shot Down In Flames debut. Of note though is that these songs are full-on studio quality, even if you can hear Rick still getting his vocal sea legs. But you really come for the hi-fidelity cruise of classics like Mistreatin' Heart, Winter Freeze, Road To Morocco and the immortal epic sweep of the band's Bon Scott tribute Shot Down In Flames, a long and winding funeral procession worth the price of admission alone. As well, Rick writes an informative Santers timeline and comes up with 16 thumbnail photos, all in all, a more than adequate execution of the "best of" plan, solid track selection, a cool blast of gleaming guitar tones from a bubbling under band that joined Goddo, Moxy and Coney Hatch on the sidelines while Rush, Triumph and April Wine briefly broke America. See www.santers.com for more info.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 3