The Fighter: The Next Great Blues Rock Album?

Blues guitar virtuoso Simon McBride is set to release his first solo record in a decade this week. Somehow we were lucky enough to get an early copy of it to review and couldn’t wait to get started. So, let’s not waste any time, here it is!

‘Don’t Dare’ opens on a great blues riff reminiscent of early Led Zeppelin. It slows up into the verse, Simon’s powerful vocals coming in over the top of his clean guitar chords and a fun bassline. The distortion comes back in for a catchy chorus, it giving off even more blues vibes. The track drops down out of the second chorus, building up as it repeats the song title over and over. It soon crescendos and heads into a typically fantastic guitar solo, dripping with swagger and emotion. It then heads into a final chorus to end a fantastic opening track!

‘Show Me How to Love’ opens at a slower, more plodding pace. Again, it’s so very blues. The driving bassline and simple drums sound great with the clean guitar chords come in over the top. It heads into another big chorus, the backing vocals adding a hell of a lot to it and making it even catchier. We get another awesome cheeky little solo between the chorus and verse too. The leads have been a definite highlight of the album already. The main solo is even better, Simon channeling his inner Slash as he builds it up faster and faster from a slow, fantastic beginning. The anthemic chorus is doubled before yet another awesome solo takes us home. An amazing track and one that definitely makes the playlist!

Check out our interview with the man of the hour here.

We get some jazzy chords to open ‘Kingdom’. It almost feels like RHCP or Lenny Kravitz, especially when the distorted guitar comes in behind it. The track stays stripped back a little, simple bass and drums leading behind Simon’s vocals. It almost gives off Extreme vibes with the fun funk rock. The chorus unfortunately disappears just as fast as it arrived, buyt the verses are so catchy that isn’t really an issue. There’s a high harmony in the second verse which is absolutely incredible and fits perfectly. It drops down into a low drum part that feels very Genesis, building things up more and more again through Simon’s fantastic guitar solos. This was always going to make the playlist from the moment that opening riff came in, but damn if it all wasn’t fantastic. One of my favourite songs of the year so far!

The title track has more of a southern riff running through it, it all having a fun country twang. However, outside of that and some more fun harmonised vocals, it felt a fair bit like the opening two songs. The same could be said for ‘High Stakes’. It’s a good song with a fun riff and chorus, but doesn’t bring anything new so I’m struggling to say much about it!

‘Don’t Let Me Go’, however, heads into beautiful ballad territory, and I am all for it! The clean guitar chords and powerful vocals to open it up sound great, and it continues to be the focal point throughout. The addition of the drums and other guitars and vocals for the second chorus makes it feel even more epic and beautiful. It feels almost redundant to say there’s some awesome lead guitar work in the track, but I again LOVED the guitar solo. Also, the lyrics here are fantastic, packed full of emotion and are my favourite on the album. Playlisted!

‘King of the Hill’ opens on a fun, quick blues riff and the pace stays pretty bouncy throughout. The drop down to clapping behind the solo was a nice touch. So was the organised chaos that came after it. ‘Trouble’., meanwhile, opens on a slower but equally awesome riff. It leads into another slow song but it’s less ballady than ‘Don’t Let…’. More great lyrics and backing vocals accompany the slower guitars and make for a fantastic song overall.

The final two tracks close the album on a heavier note, giving us two more great riffs and huge choruses to enjoy. I loved both tracks. However, again, I couldn’t find much to talk about as they are simply good blues rock tracks.

Overall: The was fantastic. I’m a big fan of the bluesier side of rock and this hit all the right spots for me. It was full of fun tracks and moments, good riffs and fantastic solos, and a couple of deep, beautiful slower tracks. I couldn’t ask for anything more, a damn fine album from one hell of a songwriter!

The Score: 8.5/10

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