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Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - Living The Dream (Album Review)

Monday, 08 October 2018 Written by Simon Ramsay

Photo: Gene Kirkland

There’s something bittersweet about this excellent third album from Slash, Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. ‘Living The Dream’ is bursting at the seams with old school, anthemic rock ‘n’ roll of the highest calibre, but at the same time it’s hard to shake the feeling that the person behind such exhilarating music and exceptional guitar work is the very last of a dying breed.

Upon its release in 2014, ‘World On Fire’ was widely hailed as the best thing to bear Slash’s universally recognised sobriquet since Guns N’ Roses’ hugely influential ‘Appetite For Destruction.’ Delayed for longer than expected after the guitarist unexpectedly reunited with his old band for a mammoth tour, this follow up is a different kind of hard rock animal that’s every bit as wild and wonderful.

Where its epic predecessor featured 17 sprawling songs and clocked in at just shy of 80 minutes, ‘Living The Dream’ is a 12 track shit-kicker that’s much more streamlined and focused. Packing grease-drenched riffs and body-slamming rhythmic grooves, scintillating cuts like Driving Rain, Sugar Cane, Mind Your Manners and Serve You Right are paid off with interest by Myles Kennedy’s flood of arena-sized hooks.

Although more direct than ‘World On Fire’, the music here is still aglow with thrilling colours and evocative moods. Housed inside almost every song are interesting, unexpected chord voicings and tempo shifts to create a contrasting push and pull.

The One You Loved Is Gone is only a pedal steel guitar away from being a regretful country ballad par excellence, while Lost Inside The Girl conveys its narrator’s dark obsession through richly atmospheric and creepy textures. Read Between The Lines combines funky, filthy rock ‘n’ roll and haunted-house verses before its chorus drops a gutter-hooligan chant.

Slash and band recorded this album during a break in the Guns N’ Roses world tour and that live energy, as well as his old gang’s signature, are all over these songs.  The Call Of The Wild’s intro is Paradise City on steroids as open chords roar beneath trademark arpeggio picking, while the soulful breakdown resembles Don’t Cry and its solo erupts into action Garden of Eden-style. Elsewhere, My Antidote detonates like You Could Be Mine and The Great Pretender’s weeping, Gary Moore-esque motif massages the same emotional sweet spot as Estranged.

Not that this is merely Guns N’ Roses by another name. Kennedy offers a very different storytelling energy to Axl Rose that, in tandem with his modern melodic sensibilities, gives this superb ensemble a distinct identity of its own.  That said, if the reformed Guns line-up had produced this album it would be heralded as a triumphant comeback.

Slash has always been a 1970s guitar god out of time. Aside from the global fame, unmistakable image and instantly identifiable arsenal of licks, he’s a hugely underrated composer who always plays for the song and never to showboat.

Delivered with superhuman feel and oceans of personality, his tuneful soloing on this record sings with an expressiveness many lead vocalists will never match. The sole surviving guitar hero from hard rock’s golden era, ‘Living The Dream’ is a timely reminder they don’t make them like Slash anymore and we should treasure his unique talents before extinction takes hold.

'Living The Dream' is out now through Roadrunner Records.

Slash Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Sat February 16 2019 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sun February 17 2019 - GLASGOW SECC
Tue February 19 2019 - DONCASTER Dome
Wed February 20 2019 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Tue October 09 2018 - HUNTINGTON New York - Paramount (USA)
Wed October 10 2018 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - North Seventh (USA)
Thu October 11 2018 - BOSTON Massachusetts - House of Blues (USA)
Tue October 16 2018 - LOS ANGELES California - Hollywood Palladium (USA)
Thu February 07 2019 - OFFENBACH AM MAIN Stadthalle (Germany)
Sat February 09 2019 - PRAGUE O2 Arena (Czech Republic)
Sun February 10 2019 - VIENNA Gasometer (Austria)
Tue February 12 2019 - LODZ Atlas Arena (Poland)
Fri February 22 2019 - PARIS Zenith (France)
Sat February 23 2019 - BRUSSELS Cirque Royal (Belgium)
Sun February 24 2019 - AMSTERDAM AFAS Live (Netherlands)
Wed February 27 2019 - OSLO Sentrum Scene (Norway)
Thu February 28 2019 - STOCKHOLM Annexet (Sweden)
Sun March 03 2019 - HAMBURG Sporthalle (Germany)
Mon March 04 2019 - BERLIN Verti Music Hall (Germany)
Thu March 07 2019 - ZURICH Samsung Hall (Switzerland)
Fri March 08 2019 - MILAN Fabrique (Italy)
Sun March 10 2019 - TOULOUSE Zenith (France)
Tue March 12 2019 - BARCELONA St Jordi Club (Spain)
Wed March 13 2019 - MADRID Wizink Centre (Spain)
Fri March 15 2019 - LISBON Campo Pequeno (Portugal)

Click here to compare & buy Slash Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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