Ain't Life Grand (Koch)
By Michael Lipton
It may seem like ancient history, but at least for a brief moment,
Guns N' Roses was the last word in commercial rock. Those days may be
long gone, but Slash-who, in the meantime, has guested with everyone
from Tom Jones to Michael Jackson-clearly has no intentions of growing
out of his hard-rocking ways. After 1995's tepid It's Five O' Clock
Somewhere, Slash has revamped and solidified Snakepit's lineup,
bought back the record he completed for Geffen, and signed a deal with indie Koch. The result is the same post-Aerosmith-styled rock you might expect (complete with goofy caricatures on the cover) from someone who thinks Guns 'N' Roses was "traditional rock 'n' roll."
Muscular rockers like the opener "Been There Lately," which sets
the tone for the entire record, and "Just Like Anything" may sound
dated, but at this point, the band can out-Aerosmith Aerosmith
(which was never much of a feat to begin with)-although it was never
in a league with gurus (and current touring mates) AC/DC. The subject matter is what you'd expect-sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll-and the riffs mighty familiar. Still, tunes like "Just Like Anything" and "The Truth" aren't half-bad and are broken up with some interesting arrangements. And, for an arena rock ballad, "Back To The Moment" is damn near soulful.
Slash's guitar screams, whines, and wahs throughout the dozen tunes,
but the band stays in close and tight pursuit. It may be damning with
faint praise, but I've heard a lot worse.
All recordings courtesy of Koch Records. "Been There Lately" and "Shine" written by Slash, J. Griparic, R. Jackson, M. Laug, R. Roxie; courtesy of Dik Hayd Music (ASCAP)/December Cat Songs (BMI). "Back To The Moment" written by Slash, J. Griparic, R. Jackson, M. Laug, R. Roxie, J. Paris; courtesy of Dik Hayd Music (ASCAP)/December Cat Songs/Jeff Paris Music (BMI).