It takes a brave band to include a scathing review amidst the promotional materials for their latest offering, but then Grand Rezerva are very clearly a band who do not give a flying f*** as to what anyone thinks about them… especially critics. A classic rock ‘n’ roll band in the grand tradition of Iggy Pop and the Clash, Grand Rezerva do not, at any point, offer anything particularly new or revolutionary, but then to expect them to would be to miss the point entirely. Rather grand Rezerva offer up ten blistering tracks of raw rock music played with fire and fury in a manner that is sure to sate the appetite of anyone who feels modern music is so absurdly polished it sounds as if it was played by a computer.
Just to get you off on the wrong foot the band open with the eighteen second ‘forty Eight’ which sounds like a badly taped outtake unearthed from the ‘Raw Power’ sessions before kicking into the almighty groove of real album opener ‘she runaway’. The band play energetically and the addition of a second guitarist to the line-up has definitely been a boon because the sound is thick and heavy throughout. The band’s secret weapon is their vocalist Mike C who wails with the best of them, his vocals touching on Ozzy Ozbourne, Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes over the course of the album’s ten songs. ‘She runaway’ demonstrates that the band don’t just have the requisite attitude but also a pop sensibility that enables them to summon massive choruses seemingly at will, a trait that has undoubtedly helped the band make some headway with radio stations in America. ‘American me’ is full-on driving rock with a classic quiet – loud structure that loses nothing in being familiar, particularly when the melodies are carved out in a way that guarantees they’ll stick in your head for days. Next up ‘bring me the thunder’ does exactly that with a gnarly riff giving way to glam-laden stomp that Bowie and Iggy would have thrown out with joy back in the seventies before the band hit home even harder with the quite excellent ‘crazy’, a slab of prime Guns ‘n’ Roses-loving hard rock that would surely get any live audience moving with its powerful percussion and slithery riffs.
Half way through the short album and we land on ‘let’s ride’ which combines punk attitude with a slower tempo for a song that falls between Velvet Revolver and very early Manic Street Preachers. Just to cement the Iggy connection, ‘My worst fear’ trips very close to the riff for ‘I wanna be your dog’ slowed down and ground out in Monster Magnet style. It’s the longest track here and it justifies its length with a subtle psychedelic edge and decent solos. ‘Paradise to die for’ shows that the band know exactly what their strengths and weakness are as they sing “It’s nothing new, I think you’ve seen it before, it’s just the brand that makes us special…” – an apt summary of the band’s sound that captures their own unique power in a genre that has been thrilling music fans for decades. ‘Shout it out’, aside from having a title that is pure Kiss, does a good job of sounding like a cross between MSG and Kiss, but then hell, if you’re going to reference classic rock ‘n’ roll bands you may as well reference the best. ‘You move me’ cruises by on a Sid Vicious sneer and then the album closer, ‘the guardian’, is upon you , and so the band close their eyes and furiously churn out one last hair-raising blast of pure adrenalin-soaked rock before the album spins to a halt simply waiting for you to grab another beer and kick it off all over again.
What more is there to say? Grand Rezerva are not about to reinvent the wheel – if you love classic rock then you will love Grand Rezerva, it really is that simple. The band have clearly spent many hours spinning vinyl and absorbing the powerful influences of the very best bands of the last decades, and here it all comes pouring out of them, the flaming riffs, the taut percussion and attitude-laden vocals, all as raw and uncompromising as you could wish for. As music fans increasingly rebel against the soulless digital perfection of modern pop and rock, it is bands like Grand Rezerva who will be proudly standing tall. They may not be note perfect (although they are as tight as hell) but you can guarantee every raging note comes straight from the band – a worthy album to sink a beer or ten to and well worth checking out.