Remember the days when the radio was good? No neither do we, but listen to this instead
Life’s too short to walk around saddled with regrets. But there is one that eats away at MV. I am about 10 years too young to have fully appreciated the music I love.
Being in your early 40s means Phil Lynott might be the desktop wallpaper on the laptop this is being written on (true story) but you never saw him front Thin Lizzy, it means you’ve seen Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Springsteen, and everyone else from Yes, to the Stones to Elton John, but you never, really saw them in their heyday. Put it like this, your dad might have paid 50p to see Led Zeppelin, but you never did.
You could choose to bitch and moan, or if you are Kris Rogers you could write a song about it. On “Rock N Roll Radio” (the title of the album comes from a line in its chorus) he sings this about today’s young people: “I’d take ‘em to the record store, but it ain’t around anymore, they just listen on their cellular phones, won’t take a lifetime to explain the magic in the way the needle picks up the groove.”
Rogers is no stranger to this type of thing either. In addition to his work in the wonderful Bullet Proof Lovers and with Scott Sorry (once of The Wildhearts for christsakes) he formed the brilliant The Dirty Gems at the turn of the decade as a throwback outfit. The ten tracks on “Losing The Frequency” – his first solo record – are in a similar vein.
They are just better than anything he’s ever done before.
That is immediately clear from the opener “Let Go,” which has the hint of Meat Loaf about it, but just to underline the point, “I Know” is one of the best songs you’ll hear in 2017 and about halfway through it changes pace and you’d swear on whatever you consider holy that you had happened upon some outtake from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” which has been in a dusty corner of Elton John’s garage for the last 40 years.
The stellar cast that Rogers has put together for this, including rock n roll veteran Kurt Baker (Rogers has himself been in the Kurt Baker Trio), makes this look effortless. “Black Widow” comes on like Nicke Andersson at his most laid back and is topped off with some brilliant Saxophone work
And so it goes on. Pick a song, because they are all brilliant. “No Place To Go” has a Billy Joel vibe, “Gone On Too Long” should be The Faces, but it isn’t. It’s Kris Rogers – and that’s why Kris Rogers rules.
In amongst the idea that rock n roll should be fun first and foremost, there is a hint of fight about the uplifting chorus of “Revolution” and if there’s ever been a better put-down in a chorus than this: “I don’t know why I just can’t let you go…you’re just overrated” then send it our way, we’ve got a woman it applies to….
Everything this record it turns to gold, “These Times” just sounds gleeful and hedonistic, and in its line: “we weren’t made for these times” it seems to sum up the whole record.
It even finds time to end with an epic – and no one saw that coming – but nonetheless “Who’s Gonna Save You Now” is here and in its eight minutes recalls everything you’d imagine it would, but adds a dollop of prog and spoonful of Queen while it’s at it.
It is no exaggeration to say that “Losing The Frequency” is one of the finest records of the year so far. Choc-a-bloc full of timeless music, it is more than a homage to the greats, it is a classic in its own right. All you need to do now is tune in to it.
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