HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Back To The Rhythm (Shrapnel)

You really can't aspire to too much being an earthy, rootsy, bluesy hard rock band. Especially if you're going to put the bombast of Collision or the Black Crowes or Artimus Pyledriver or Led Zeppelin aside and write in a subdued balladic zone as often as a Stonesy one. But it's comforting to know Great White are there, after the over-processed sounds of the '80s, after the novelty covers and the tragic fire, after the acoustic albums and tribute albums and live albums. It's like full circle, and all of that life experience has created a good, solid traditional rock band with a hard edge, nothing less, nothing more. The production on Back To The Rhythm is still a little bright in places, but Jack's a joy to listen to, and the guitar tones are changed up entertainingly. The sum total of this record is barsy, world-weary... and respectful. Like Skynyrd in a way, but in fact, less commercial and histrionic than that band, which should be a surprise comparative in itself. The best songs come late, in 'Standin' On The Edge' and 'Neighbourhood', creating a package that can be accessed at any point in the sequence, for surprises, although every single surprise is in a steadfast traditional style without flash - weird.
Rating 7.5

No Control (Poobah)

For those who need a lesson in the underground, Poobah are a highly collectible band with some of the heaviest post-psych albums of the '70s creating a legacy that cannot be denied. Let Me In, U.S. Rock and Steamroller are all essentials, from this remarkable band that has to be classed as the greatest indie band of that decade, especially given that few indie bands made more than one record. Anyway, flash forward a jarring 30 years, and Jim Gustafson is still the inveterate hippie in long hair and granny glasses, chasing, corralling and unleashing hard rock tone like Billy Gibbons dropping acid. No Control plays up the band's right there n' immediate power trio electrics, each instrument raw and discernable, Jim's voice up front, but most of all, guitar for miles, greatest clinic put on through the immense 'Show', the ZZ Top-ish 'Stinkin'' and 'Fear', which goes' Gov't Mule on ya. Bluesy, funky, heavy, and always charged with rock voltage, Poobah oscillate willfully between barsy boogie through prog and, of course, deep into Jim's beloved psych realm. The production is a little casual and indie, and Jim's a bit of a wild pitcher as a vocalist, but see them live and you'll get it. This is essentially a garage rock power trio with a toolbox of riffs and tones and textures that continually surprise, and even more often, serve as a tacit textbook to a couple of dozen '70s move the younger stoner rockers aren't subtle enough to notice, let alone reproduce.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 3