It’s in the blood. Glenn Hughes may have been dubbed the ‘Voice of rock’ because of his exceptional vocal talents, but a different interpretation might be that, over the course of a career that has spanned nearly fifty years, Glenn Hughes has embodied the rock ‘n’ roll spirit like few others. Not very album he’s put his name to has been perfect (and what artist can, in all honesty, say different), but his work has one common factor – it is an honest representation of who Glenn Hughes was at the time. For better or for worse, Glenn must follow his muse, and that integrity has kept fans returning to his work year on year. Quite aside from solo work, in recent years, Glenn has blessed us with the birth of a great rock band, Black Country Communion, as well as the disappointingly short-lived California Breed, both projects which perfectly demonstrated the fact that when Glenn Hughes is on form, you better watch out, because few artists can match the fire and fury that he brings to the table.
It’s been eight long years since the last Glenn Hughes solo album, 2008’s ‘first underground nuclear kitchen’, appeared, although there was a live album in the form of 2012’s ‘live at Wolverhampton’, and of course Glenn has been involved in numerous other projects. Nonetheless, it’s a pleasure to see Glenn’s name proudly on the cover and, from the moment you press play and ‘Heavy’ explodes into action it’s clear that ‘Resonate’ is Glenn Hughes firing on all cylinders. ‘Heavy’ does, as they say, exactly what it says on the tin. A huge riff announces Glenn’s presence whilst Chad Smith does his best to reduce the recording studio to rubble with a percussive workout that puts his previous non-Chilli’s peak of Chickenfoot to shame. Of course, this is Glenn Hughes and so, whilst the track is indeed tooth-rattlingly heavy, there’s also that patented funky underpinning that makes Glenn’s work such a pleasure to listen to – it’s got groove and damn if it’s not irresistible. The hard rock pummelling doesn’t stop there, and with ‘My town’ Glenn and his cohorts keep things fast and loose with gritty guitars and throbbing bass all nailed down by Pontus Engborg’s relentless four-to-the-floor stomp. Yet, just as you’ve got a handle on just how exhilarating Glenn sounds, he throws in a psychedelic curve ball that only serves to reaffirm just how gargantuan the rest of the track sounds. What really hooks you though is that voice. A voice that stands among the few true greats, Glenn Hughes still has a range that is the envy of the rock world and on ‘My town’ it’s in full evidence. Hard to believe, but ‘flow’ is even better. Built around a riff of such stunning brutality it threatens to shred speaker cones, ‘Flow’ is a classic-in-the-making and a track that is going to set the front rows ablaze when Glenn and his crew decide to detonate it live. Better still, an acoustic bridge sees a twisted psyche melody abruptly terminate the riffing only for Glenn’s cruelly distorted bass to return to the fold even heavier than at the outset. It’s amazing how alive Glenn and his band sound, how utterly, thrillingly vital and as the record progresses it’s impossible not to be overcome by a sense of awe at the way in which Glenn so effortlessly personifies everything hard rock should be. Take the melodic majesty of ‘let it shine’ for example, a track that takes that Beatles-infused metal of latter day Soundgarden and pumps it full of adrenalin – it’s soulful, majestic and, above it all, immensely exciting. We’re into vintage rock territory with the wild organ solo that opens ‘steady’ recalling the majesty of Jon Lord in full flight. With Lachy Doley giving it his all, the band match him step-for-step on a track that draws on Glenn’s rich heritage with Deep Purple and the vocal work here is nothing short of mesmerising. The first half of the album concludes with the doom-laden ‘god of money’ which is surely one of the heaviest songs both lyrically and musically that Glenn has ever produced.
The second half of the album emerges with the sort of riff that used to dominate stadiums, whilst the chorus, which centres around a repeated cry of the titular ‘how long’, manages to encapsulate a sense of longing with those two simple words that is matched by the surging riffs and pounding percussion. The album’s most restrained moment, ‘when I fall’ is a truly beautiful piece of work. The sort of richly textured ballad that sends shivers down the spine with a stunning vocal performance at its heart and the trembling, quasi-orchestral strings of the Mellotron providing yet further depth to the piece, ‘When I fall’ takes in elements of blues, soul and even progressive rock and ranks as one of the most perfect compositions to which Glenn has put his name. It’s back to the funk with ‘landmines’, a track that captures the same vibe that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers tapped into on ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’, whereas ‘stumble and go’ is a full-throttle rock monster that flies past before the album concludes with ‘long time gone’, another track that features the propulsive percussion of Chad Smith whose chemistry with Hughes is all but tangible.
Glenn may have named the album ‘Resonate’ but ‘earthquake’ may well have been more apt. This is not a rock record, this is a full-tilt, soul-infused, gasoline guzzling, funk-imbued monster of a record that grabs you by whichever anatomical delights you are foolish enough to leave exposed and steadfastly refuses to let go until the disc spins to a halt. Vocally, musically, spiritually, ‘Resonate’ is an exceptional, heart-felt body of work from a musician who seems to have hit a whole new peak in his career. Glenn describes ‘Resonate’ as “the first kind of a complete Glenn Hughes album,” and whilst that might seem a touch unfair to his previous work, it does come close to capturing the holistic nature of this album. What marks this record out, above all else, is the clear passion Glenn has for his music. Like his voice, it soars majestically from every pounding beat and raging riff and you truly can’t ask more from any musician than that. 10