VINCENT'S EAR (The Trip) CD:
This Santa Cruz-based outfit belongs to the sort of bands that are giving hard rock a breath of fresh air. The last time, I have the same impression was when I listen to Santeria, though VINCENT'S EAR are doing their very own thing. They share the same spiritual feeling within their sound, but here one can find a greater dose of a psychedelic influence instead of a southern tribal voodoo vibe. Subtly powerful, VINCENT'S EAR are essentially an inspiring combination of primal blues, musclebound hard rock riffing and explosive rythm patters. Here's a sleazy punk attitude, not only because of the Misfits cover "She" that makes this mixture just fresher and more energetic. "Live With Me" is the second cover song of the album, and I'm glad that this group has chosen a less known Rolling Stones song, instead of the 456th boring version of "Gimmie Shelter". If you want to compare it with the original check out the "Let It Bleed" album.
For my taste here are more outstanding tracks to find then average ones and to name a few examples just check out "Toughskins" which sounds as if Chris Goss (Masters Of Reality) had jammed with the group or the muscle-packed "Engine" with its furious tempo changes. The short blues-tinged acoustic number "Indian Reservation" enriches the atmosphere of the entire album while "Skeleton" is entertaining mesh of latin-like percussive patterns combined with a solid mid-tempo groove. Vocalist Michael Alden is definitely the one who is adding this special mystical vibe to the music, and he shows ones again that a good hard rock band stands or falls with the vocalist. Gladly, VINCENT'S EAR are belonging to the first category. "The Trip" won't change the face of rock, but it's a solid investment, although I like to give the band the advice to come up with a "no filler" album next time. Maybe then I will become a real fan of "the Ear".