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Groundhogs - Back Against The Wall CD (album) cover




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3.08 | 6 ratings

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Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Back to basics

At time of writing, "Back against the wall" is the latest album of original songs by the Groundhogs. Released in 1987, the ever present Tony McPhee brings back Ken Pustelnik on drums and Dave Thompson on bass for the recordings. The album represents a back to basics of sorts, in that McPhee ditches the various keyboards he has amassed, and sticks to lead guitar as his instrument of choice. This does not however imply a return to the straight blues of the very early days, indeed this album is by and large a standard guitar rock album.

The opening title track has something of a Dire Straits feel, McPhee's vocals even being similar to those of Mark Knopfler. The song has a distinctly commercial orientation, but does feature some of McPhee's superb guitar work. Thereafter we have a succession of similar sounding tracks, sometimes a bit slower, sometimes a bit faster, but each sticking to a familiar style and sound.

Apart from the aforementioned Dire Straits, this could well be a Wishbone Ash release, the bluesy lead guitar focused rock being very much in their vein. Tracks such as "Ain't no slaver" could well have been lifted from albums such as "There's the rub" or "New England". While it is all far from original, far from prog, and not very close to blues either, it is actually rather enjoyable. Those approaching the album hoping to hear either "Split - part 2" or the mellotron drenched style which the Groundhogs developed thereafter may not be too impressed. Those who enjoy McPhee's guitar prowess should be reasonably well satisfied.

For the rest of us, this a decent if largely anonymous album, devoid of challenges but well served by good sounds.

By the way, the final track's title "54126" is apparently the serial number of a Gibson guitar stolen from Tony McPhee. The song is a love song to said guitar.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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