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GRAHAM BONNET BAND - Meanwhile, Back In The Garage

Release date July 13/18 (Frontiers)

Incredibly this is the 50th anniversary of Graham Bonnet's first recorded work (a single with The Marbles), and I went into this with minimal expectations given Bonnet's age (71) and recent lackluster recordings. Defying time, Meanwhile, Back In The Garage finds the James Dean fan in fine form, still able to push out monstrous amounts of air out of those big lungs of his. Sounding just fine, thanks, Bonnet appears energized and engaged here despite the threats of Father Time.

His backing band provides ample support too. Guitarist Kurt James does his best Malmsteen impressions here in spots, while keyboardist Jimmy Waldo returns to Bonnet's side, both assisting in bringing up Alkatrazz comparisons in places (a very good thing). 'Past Lives' will also remind you of Dio fare too. Memorable choruses and melodies are dotted throughout, and the overall hard rocking vibe ensures that it will appeal to classic and hard rock enthusiasts.

The only problem with the release is its excessive 60-minute-plus length (not including two bonus tracks). The record overstays its welcome, the addition of some saccharin tracks late in the playlist unwelcome amongst the quality fare that proceeded it. Some easy and deft editing though will leave you with 48-minutes of prime, timeless hard rock. God bless the ol' fella!

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