Release DetailsLABEL Demolition Records
RELEASED ON 12/1/2006
Music For The Divine
posted on 5/2007 By:
I’m not going to lie, the name Glenn Hughes didn’t ring a bell when I first picked up Music for the Divine, but his résumé sure did. While he’s primarily remembered for playing bass and singing in Deep Purple’s post Gillan & Glover years (Mk III & Mk IV, for those taking notes) and doing the same for the band that classic rock stations have sadly forgotten, Trapeze, he’s also been in the ranks of Black Sabbath (taking the mic on Iommi’s sorta solo venture Seventh Star) and had a prominent guest spot on The KLF’s final big hit, “America: What Time is Love?”. So, even if you’re like me and you’ve let your youthful ignorance get the better of you (Liner…notes? Quoi?), there’s still a good chance that you’ve probably heard his soulful pipes and his funk-infused work on the bass. Granted, even with those stops on his near forty year music career fresh in my mind, Music for the Divine was a mild surprise, mainly because I wasn’t expecting a funky alt-rock album streamlined for the radio.
Even though it’s frontloaded with its four best tracks and hits Fillerville after the insanely catchy "This House," Music for the Divine is a fairly consistent album that very occasionally flirts with greatness. It’s the kind of record that only industry vets are able to put out, as the nervous energy and hunger of their youth has been supplanted by an attention to craft and an almost clinical professionalism. Still, it’s easy to see that Hughes longs for a charting single. Not only is he back collaborating with Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (the biggest band in the world according to taste-tracker Last.fm) after the apparent success of ‘05’s Soul Mover, but Music for the Divine reeks of modern concessions, such as the lead single “This is How I Feel” that’s pitched somewhere between Death Cab for Cutie and Chris Cornell. In fact, a lot of the album takes on a Cornell vibe as the chunky funk rockers (“Steppin’ On,” “Monkey Man”) could be a more melodically inclined Audioslave. Hughes’ voice in particular sounds dangerously close to the former Soundgarden belter at points and, oddly, like a young Mike Patton at others. Combined, all of this leads one to the conclusion that Glenn Hughes wanted to sneak into alt-rock programming by riding the current funk rock boom, which is pretty weird since, to my knowledge at least, there isn’t one. Not only is it not the in thing, but it wasn’t even the in thing three things ago.
Music for the Divine almost works because of that though, since it gives the album an appealing ‘90s feel that folks burned out on the braindead depression of post-grunge will greatly appreciate. Of course, most of the songs themselves are pretty decent, which helps. The prog-tinged opener “The Valiant Denial” is a fine driving rock track that comes off like a more classic rock aligned Mad at Gravity with better hooks. Speaking of hooks, few come as guiltily delicious “This House,” an acoustic strummer complete with a string quartet, which deserves pop success based solely on the harmony in its chorus. But, while these are pleasing turns, Music for the Divine is missing that “wow factor” that albums of this sort desperately need. Even with very solid musicianship from all those participating (including some good six-string work from J. J. Marsh, who also has writing credits on all but three songs), nothing calls out for repeated listens. It leaves you feeling unfulfilled and largely unmoved. In the end, it’s just another professional album, one that’s a little too slick, a little too melodic, and, really, a little too safe. You know, the kind that only industry vets seem to put out. Shame really, because there’s a lot to like about what Hughes is doing, be it the pleasant timbres, the hooks, or the musicianship, but it’s just missing that certain something, that something that only the hungry youth seem to have.
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