Music Is The Medicine

Anthony Gomes

Adrenaline, 2006

http://www.anthonygomes.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/18/2006

Anthony Gomes is able to overcome an awful picture of himself on the CD cover to deliver a surprisingly solid set of bar-band blues that sounds good if you're driving or drinking (don't mix the two. That's your Daily Vault moral of the day).

The cover, if you're interested, features a heavily made-up Gomes, long hair flowing, open leather jacket with no shirt underneath, tight jeans, feminine eyebrows, holding an electric guitar. It's a look as far from reality and the blues as one can get; if it wasn't for the facial hair, he could pass for a flat-chested woman. Not the look you want to establish blues and roots music crediblity.

Past that, the music is actually solid, vibrant and entertaining, and though it's not particularly memorable or original there's something fun about it. Inspired by Deep Purple and Zeppelin, Gomes decided not to open for Bon Jovi when given the chance but chose instead to pursue his own musical path, a mix of rockin' blooze, soul and funk. Of course, one can argue only a handful of white guys have ever successfully played the blues, and Gomes ranks right down there with Steven Tyler as people who believe what they sing. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But for a good party CD, this will work now and again, if everyone's been drinking. "Stand Up" is a fine number, featuring a funky horn breakdown in the midst of an amped-up blues song. "War On War" recalls Grand Funk in its simple protest message and basic blues-rock attack, but it sounds modern (except for the shouts of "boom" in the background, which are silly). "Bluebird" is an interesting twist on the Stevie Wonder sound, as if he recorded a song with Eric Clapton, and "Everyday Superstar" further refines this sound, with Gomes and the band sounding like a tribute band to Songs in the Key of Life, but with more attitude.

"Testify" is the great lost Grand Funk song, with the same party approach as "Rock And Roll Soul" but with much more insistent drumming, and it would be a great choice for the first single - that is, if pop radio had any room for blues-based rock without a trace of irony. Had this spirit and attitude been applied elsewhere, the entire disc would be memorable, but it stands as one of the few songs here that stays in your head - and it's the only one I ever really return to on future listens. That and "War on War" are really the only two tracks you need to hear of the 12.

The actual slower songs here, while still not exactly blues, are the weakest points, such as "Love Is The Answer" and "Run," but both feature mean guitar solos at the end, and one of Gomes' strengths is that he lets the song speak before the virtuosity. This somewhat pedestrian approach is welcome on the aforementioned highlights but is a failure on "When The Right Woman Does You Wrong," which sounds like every other generic blues you could imagine. So many bands have done blues/rock-with-a-hint-of-soul before...and when you're copying Grand Funk Railroad, you've run out of ideas.

In the end, Gomes fails to come up with something original or definitive, using hints of all the styles but never cohering them into something memorable or worthwhile. Only two or three songs are truly memorable, and the rest could play as good background bar music, which maybe is all Gomes wants to be. This disc won't change your life or be something you revisit often, and it would be wise to have a drink or two before you listen to it. Just don't drive at the same time.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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