X-Drive - Get Your Rock On

X-Drive Get Your Rock On cover
Get Your Rock On
Frontiers Records
I just could not “get it” through my thick skull that a lot of this band’s advance publicity was actually attempted to be attributed and be built around the fact that bassist James Lomenzo has been a session player that has been in and out of many band like: White Lion, David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Black Label Society; big deal... he either played in some of their worst albums or made no writing contributions so, what’s the point in trying to make a big fuss out of that? The fact that vocalist Keith St. John (Montrose, Lynch Mob, Burning Rain) is on board for instance is a bit of a better sort of thing to mention... I guess.
The whole album is the brainchild of an unknown guitarist who arrived to Cali, from of all places, Oregon and knew, nobody, but somehow got to get into the loop with these gentlemen and also drummer Fred Fischer from Midline and when he presented them his songs the songs he had written they all seemed impressed enough and wanted to participate, so X-Drive was born.
All in all, the album has this nice 80s breezy hard rock with light electric blues influences… think of something between Brian Howe Bad Co and mid era Foreigner – type of vibe, but not too flashy, the sound is a bit harder, think Aerosmith and Tesla here… and that ain’t too far away. Obviously they’re not that bril, as those band on their heyday but they got that “vibe” that carelessness which in the summer is priceless…
There are a lot of nice songs on the album – the opener “Love’s a Bitch” (tell me about it!), with its driving rhythm and big shouted chorus, the bedazzled, title track, the mournful “Steppin’ on the Rock” with its whole “ohhhh – Mother Mary – God set me free” kinda rock n soul moments... the bruised balladry of “Baby Bye Bye”, which is almost obvious by the title, ain’'t it? The carefree and sunny “California” and so on…
“Lay Me Down” is a smooth and slightly modern melodic piece that is quite pleasant to the ear, while “Turn the Noize Down” is a little “Hagar-y” but not in the best possible way, I could have possible done without it.
“Beyond the Angels” is another beautiful ballad... and “Rattlesnake Eyes” sort of shakes its tail like a blacksnake to shake things up a bit and stir some trouble… and make you moan – ha! There’s also a bunch of cool songs towards the end “Just Can’t Stay” mixing both a more modern riff with some rather bizarre dynamics and some classic ballad ideas to great effect.
“Change of Heart” is as traditional as it could be a smooth jam, acoustic and simple as hell but beautiful in its simplicity.
Last but not least there’s “Love Breaks the Fool” a cool and passionate rocker in the Whitesnake tradition that is probably one of the better songs here.
Ahh, there’s also an alternative mix of “California” as a bonus track, but “really”?!
All in all, this out of the blue album is a rather unexpected competitor in the melodic rock arena, but
as it really doesn’t have any really big “names” attached to it, it really doesn’t cause any big, expectations either, which is actually a good thing, in reality, because thus it manages to quietly come up with a rather pleasant result, which fans of melodic hard rock should not dismiss without checking out first!