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22 Aug 2014 - 09:20:42 pm

X-DRIVE - Get Your Rock On (2014)

X-DRIVE - Get Your Rock On (2014) full

I'm shocked. Knock me off my seat, and pick me back up again. Here's X-DRIVE, from Los Angeles of all places, delivering some melodious rocking vibes that doesn't sound like all the heavy and harsh down-tuned modern rock dribble. 
No Sir. X-Drive and their debut "Get Your Rock On" deliver classic American Melodic Hard Rock in its finest purist form. Shut the front door, children, and prepare to groove.

Hailing from LA, by way of Oregon, X-Drive is the creation of guitarist Jeremy Brunner. Yeah, you never heard of him. Listen up. This guy can write cool songs, deliver sharp riffs and slick guitar solos. 
And Brunner managed not only to find superb musicians for his band, he also has come out of nowhere to sign a worldwide deal with Frontiers Records and release "Get Your Rock On" in a few days.
He's surrounded himself with some major talent including including bassist James Lomenzo from White Lion and drummer Fred Fischer from Midline. The album was produced by the late Led Zeppelin engineer legend Andy Johns. 

You need more? Brunner got veteran vocalist Keith St. John from Montrose and Burning Rain fame. St. John is easily one of the most undernoticed and underrated vocalist. He's got the stage presence of a young Robert Plant, and his voice has the hard rock grit melded with soulful blues wrapped in melody. You might hear Plant, Rodgers and, maybe, some Ronnie James Dio, if you can imagine him doing straight rock.

X-Drive's music is BIG on rocking riffs, melodies and groove. This is definitely toe-tapping music. It's also big on catchy choruses and often four part vocal harmonies. 
Then Brunner takes off on his guitar offering melodic versatile lines. Brunner is less a shredder and more a classic rocker in his delivery. Most every song involves these things, but several simply stand out like hard rockin' "Love's A Bitch", the rowdy keg tapping "Turn the Noize Down", or the simply catchy and intriguing "Lay Me Down". 
For that latter number, every player, instrument and note blend with entertaining ease for ear candy ecsaty.
Even when X-Drive back off, moderates a bit, the groove remains as does the infectious hooks like with "Rattlesnake Eyes" or the steady movement of "Love Breaks the Fool".

They can also turn towards more AOR / Melodic Rock. "California" has breezy accessible feel that makes for a radio-friendly single. In fact, on many songs, X-Drive reminds me Feriehouse.
What would classic American Hard Rock be without a ballad or two. "Baby Bye Bye" finds St. John soulful and Brunner soaring; "Change of Heart" moves upon that aforementioned terrific vocal harmony, combined with acoustic guitar and lighter drums, with no guitar solo necessary. More ear candy.

If it seems that I'm more than a little impressed with X-Drive, you got that right. This band has the talent, the chops, the presence, and the music to be huge. 
The irony, however, is that this American band was discovered by an European label rather than one from their homeland. A pity. 
X-Drive's debut demonstrates that classic '80s American Melodic Hard Rock is alive in the US, and in its purest form.
Highly Recommended.


01 - Love's a Bitch
02 - Get Your Rock On
03 - Steppin' on the Rock
04 - Baby Bye Bye
05 - California
06 - Lay Me Down
07 - Turn the Noize Down
08 - Beyond the Angels
09 - Rattlesnake Eyes
10 - Just Can't Stay
11 - Change of Heart
12 - Love Breaks the Fool
13 - California (Alternate Mix) [Digital Bonus Track]

Keith St. John (Lynch Mob, Burning Rain) - Vocals
Jeremy Brunner - Guitar
James Lomenzo (White Lion, David Lee Roth, Ozzy) - Bass
Fred Fischer (Midline) - Drums
.
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