For those of us who have been around long enough to remember the big hair, stadium rock fervour that rocked the nation at the back end of the 1980’s, Jagged Edge would have been familiar faces on the rock circuit. Featuring Myke Gray (guitar) and Matti Alfonzetti (bass/vocals), Jagged Edge were one of Britains Best Kept Secrets, a label I am sure they would prefer not to have had! Jagged Edge ceased to be in 1992, with Myke and bassist Andy Robbins going on to achieve greater success with good-time rock’n’rollers Skin.
After a somewhat chequered career, and with the applause from 2011’s final Skin gig at High Voltage still ringing in Myke Grays ears, the great man was back in action with his latest project Red White & Blues. Teaming up with Jagged Edge compadre Matti Alfonzetti, RW&B hit the ground running, securing slots at a handful of major festivals as well as going on to support Bon Jovi, Chickenfoot, Steel Panther and The Quireboys. In the meantime they somehow found the time to record what would have been one of my top albums of 2011 (if I had heard it in time!).
Shine is the perfect showcase for writing songs that are not written to a formula, but rather make an effort to be diverse. From the anthemic get-up-and-dance opener ‘Stand Up For Rock & Roll’ to the atmospheric, smoky, heavy blues of the eponymous track, from the moody, emotion laden strains of ‘Counts For Nothing’ to the early-Jovi-esque ‘A Little Too Late’, all bases of the melodic rock spectrum are covered here to good effect. There are echoes of early Thunder and Little Angels, with perhaps a hint of Bad Company and Europe thrown in for good measure. Heavier and perhaps a little darker in places than we would get from Skin, Shine is nonetheless a fine feel-good album that is bound to act as a catalyst for greater things.
What you have here in Shine is an album of fresh new tracks that give only a hint of how good Red White & Blues are going to be live. Myke Gray has to be one of the most under-rated guitarists currently treading the boards, whilst Matti Alfonzetti’s vocals show a maturity and a quality that sends shivers up (and down) the spine. Play it loud and feel the joy.
8 out of 10