Depending on the angle of your dangle – say it points northward towards Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and other vinyl era originators – Black Country Communion might be your new favorite band. A super group of sorts, really more a confabulation of serious working musicians, Glenn Hughes (bass, vocals), Jason Bonham (drums), Derek Sherinian (keys) and Joe Bonamassa (guitar, vocals) generate an enormous, powerful roar on 2 (released June 14 on J&R Adventures). More than an attempt to recreate the sound of another era, BCC suggest what Zep might have turned out like had they continued on past In Through the Out Door, a potent, boldly drawn music built on blues, big ideas, huge feelings and ridiculously fine musicianship.
Producer Kevin Shirley pitches the tone somewhere betwixt Jimmy Page’s multilayered approach and something a touch more pointed and contemporary. It’s unique and perhaps something only a pack of vets like BCC and Shirley could pull off. Hughes – whose CV includes an extensive solo career and stints in Trapeze, Purple (including contender for their best album Burn) and many others – is a force of nature here, belting ‘em out with tangible fire and a gonadal pleasure that’s downright primal. Few gents of his age possess such raw oomph, and if anything he’s singing better now than ever (and his bass playing is pretty damn good, too). He’s not alone though with his three compatriots chipping in with equal chops and testosterone. This is man music that the little girls will understand in a visceral way, the notes running a confident hand over the listener and steering them towards Hadrian’s Wall, the crossroads or anywhere else they please.
The constituent parts would be pretty satisfying even with subpar material but BCC has delivered 11 solid as stone originals, which neatly better their 2010 debut, a pretty fine but still finding their sea legs set. What emerges on this sophomore effort is the band’s own character rising from the many enjoyable ancestral whispers. There’s nothing quite Black Country Communion out there at the moment, a band able of nestling in with the endlessly repeated staples on classic rock stations and capable of going toe-to-toe with young upstarts like Black Stone Cherry and Alter Bridge. Live clips of BCC reveal a confidence and sense of purpose that’s exciting, men convinced they’re “building a foundation for rock ‘n’ roll,” as Hughes declares in the performance of 2 standout “Save Me” below. With two albums released in the space of a year, Black Country Communion just seems to be getting started. While each member has their fingers in a number of pies, it’s to be hoped that they keep cranking out work of this caliber and mount a few massive, lengthy world tours to show folks how it’s done proper.