Album review – GREAT WHITE – Full Circle
By STEVE MASCORD
GREAT White’s 13th album – their second with Lyon-born XYZ singer Terry Ilous – is called Full Circle because the band returned to working with producer Michael Wagener.
The nine-track platter is being marketed as a return to the “classic” Great White sound after a more restrained Elation from 2012 and while there is a marked contrast with the recently released Jack Russell’s Great White album, this pitch is only partly accurate.
The first three tracks – that’s a third of Full Circle – are monsters.
“I’m Alright” is a song to cruise freeways to and would be at home on even the best Great White albums, with a chunky riff turning into a chugging boogie.
Next up, “Moving On” is even better with a guitar lick and an uplifting, instantly memorable chorus.
And “This Is The Life”? I’ll go as far as to call it one of the great … Great White songs. Not only is the riff devilishly delicious but the sentiment expressed is one with which many a middled aged rocker can identify.
“I never will forget about the hard times that made me a better man,” Ilous exhorts.
But Full Circle begins to lose its way on track four, the serviceable ballad “Let Me In”. It’s not that a slower song isn’t appropriate here – it’s that the veering-off continues thenceforth.
“Moonshine” is more soft-rock than anything else; not exactly unlistenable but it does make you nostalgic for the old days of, oh, 10 minutes ago. “Cry Of A Nation” is, again, nondescript mid-range radio rock and “Give It Up” has a funk feel that is well reflected in the uncreative title.(continued below)
We are finally back on the highway by track eight, the single “Big Time” which is even more like The Angels, an epic paean to making the climb towards fame and fortune. This is a deserved first single and just about compensates for the three previous songs.
What a chorus – as good as anything in their back catalogue! We finish with a signature blues tune, “Never Let You Down”.
It may very well be that my assessment of Full Circle is just a reflection of the sort of Great White songs I like and the sort they have also always done, but which I don’t like.
However it is interesting to read band members reflect on the variety of songs they think are best suited to Ilous. In XYZ, there was an athletic quality to his metal caterwauling. In a bluesy outfit like Great White, it takes a certain type of material for him not to sound a tad generic.