Vandenberg’s MoonKings - MoonKings

Vandenberg’s MoonKings MoonKings cover
Vandenberg’s MoonKings
Mascot Label Group
Well, Adrian Vandenberg’s career to most people is magically sort of starting and ending with his short but pivotal involvement (getting hired and then let go because of his “accident”) by none others by the Superstars of the 80s Whitesnake… few might know that previous to that Vandenberg had 3, successful albums to his name, with his eponymous band, which was a Dutch hard rock band that sung in English and was quite popular at the time and was comparable in many ways… that actually did make his visible and so got him in the attention of DC and fewer still might be aware of Teaser, the forerunner of that band, back in the late 70s, with a couple of members, difference, that’s what you’d expect it to be, a more 70s version of that, a more “Bad Co” version of that… kind of thing…
After his “Snake Days”... Vandeberg, largely retired and got involved in art and didn’t really dabble in music much if at all, other than for his own pleasure, but now, after a long time and after having jammed with “Snake” a couple of times at the “Arrow” fest in Holland, (RIP) he decided to get back in the music scene with a new band called the “Vandenberg’s Moonkings” and an eponymous album.
Guess what they sound like…?! Well if you guessed like a throwback, old proto-Whitesnake, first could of solo DC solo albums, like some select moment of Plant and you know, like a late 70s hard rocking, soulful thing that just got into the 80s... then you’d be right… unless, AV, had a stash... (of songs I mean) and just decided to get ‘em out just now, it’s hard to believe that some of those were written recently…
The band, seems really capable… there’s no denying of Vandenberg’s guitar abilities... and messer’s Sem Christoffel on bass and Mart Nijen Es on drums provide a solid enough rhythm section for the band… well Jan Hoving the singer, is also good, but he seems to have a hard time, being himself, torn apart between David Coverdale flashbacks and Robert Plant dreams... in some more contemporary songs like “Breathing” he manages to do his own thing, but I’m not sure, it’s entirely something I’d like to hear... (it’s got nice enough verses, but the chorus, is a bit of a Verve like generic Pulp...)
“Lust and Lies” is very reminiscent of “Coverdale/Page” but maybe a bit more modern still. Well and Hoving is good, but not as good as DC was back in the day.
“Close to You” is a nastier bit of sex-dripping Whitesnake bit, of fun that's not 100 % hairy… one could say that it sounds as if it would fit well on “Slide It In”… oeer’ Missus! Lol! Even DC might be jealous of this one!
There ain’t too much of a “Good Thing”… and this is really good! A bit different and more laid back, with more pokey guitars and sleazier more whiskey soaked demeanor… you almost half expect a silk thigh-ed leg to appear from some side and cross your chest, ala trilogy :P (which actually featured 4 videos, but that’s another story!)
We’ve already mentioned “Breathing”, so “Steal Away” is the next one, where Hoving, tries lower notes and raspier stuff and he almost sounds too close for comfort, like AV’s ex employer, the song ain’t too bad, but on the other hand it’s not exactly the one that would “steal the show” either...
“Line of Fire” is a mid tempo number, with a groovy chorus that’s very “vintage” and I really can’t help to think that some of these songs must have been written some time ago, really! The background female vox, make it even more retro, in the way that they are used... the whole arrangement…
“Out of Reach” is a heartfelt ballad that in the hands of “DC” it would have burned girls hearts… Hoving does OK... but his (tuned?) vocals during the chorus, is a no-no… sounds weak and wrong, otherwise it’s good, but that’s what differentiates a Legend from a good singer.
“Feel It” is a decent rocker, with a modern touch, but also a bit of a southern/country taste as well...
“Leave This Town” is another more modern tune that has this free-spirit, vagabond, sort of “ideal”, but it is more hard/heavy rock this time around... it does have the same sort of “Cowboy” vibe, but it’s much heavier…
“One Step Behind” thankfully returns to more familiar waters, again an acoustic “cover”-thing... but with lots of modern influences… this is something that would not have felt out of place in something like DC’s “Into the Light” actually… maybe – maybe not…
“Leeches” is a very biting and tongue in cheek number with a riff that stands out and lyrics that are as vitriolic as they come and well think of DC’s highest singing and then sort of just keep going on and on… for as long as there are lyrics… it’s intense!
“Nothing Touches” is a bit of a “rock ‘n roll fantasy” song… get your car out and lets rock ‘n roll and it sort of is pretty funny but catchy, even if it’s unoriginal as funk!
Last but not least there’s a new take on “Sailing Ships” with DC of all people behind the mic... which with even all the “damage” that DC’s voice has endured at least in the studio, sounds perfectly acceptable... it’s not entirely comparable with the original, it must be slightly doctored here ‘n there, but what the hell, the guy has the golden voice… one of the last greats, still touching souls with magic, I can only bow, before such majesty… and such a great song… timeless then and timeless now.
All in all, not a bad album, and I suppose, I wasn’t expecting Vandenberg to go nu-metal, really… some songs are really great, some are a little ropey, his guitar playing excellent as it has always been.