The Answer – Raise a Little Hell (Rating 4 out of 5)

answerThere is still some really good Rock music out there, and The Answer with their latest record Raise a Little Hell are making a case to be mentioned alongside Rival Sons, Black Star Riders, Blackberry Smoke, and Royal Blood as one of the best up and coming Classic Rock playing bands on the scene today.

Hailing from Northern Ireland the impulse to compare them Thin Lizzy will be strong, however that would be selling them a bit short. If you listen closely you can tell they have indeed heard “Whiskey in the Jar” a few times, and probably have played “Jailbreak” half a million times, but their real balls to the wall sound is some sort of cosmic-retro hybrid of 70’s era AC/DC, Sunset Strip Guns ‘N’ Roses Pop Metal, late 60’s early 70’s Steppenwolf meets Uriah Heep, Aerosmith and Night Ranger ballad rock.  In other words, a careening roller coaster ride with enough twists and turns to keep you wondering what is going to be around the next corner.

Powered by the back of the stadium vocals of Cormac Neeson that are a “sold his soul to the devil” cross between Bon Scott and Axl Rose, the band is a power house. If you want anthems you got ’em, with “Long Live the Renegades” opening up the set with all of the band’s bombastic talents on full display with a killer chorus and extended (just enough) guitar solos to keep your ears perked up, in tune, and craving more. This one is Powerage meets Styx.

Next up is “The Other Side” where Cormac cranks up his best Steven Tyler cat call, followed by “Aristocrat” a slowed down number that also has a bit of an Aerosmith vibe to it in a “Love in an Elevator” sort of way. “Cigarettes and Regret” show-off their chops as songwriters and could have easily been on either of the Use Your Illusion releases with a bit of a “Civil War” ambiance embedded throughout the song. It’s really good.

Holding the title song to the end of the album is a pretty brave move, but it actually works pretty well here since it follows “I am Cured” a opus-scorcher of a tune that sounds like Bon Scott fronting Montrose. Slowing things down a bit on “Raise a Little Hell” gives you a chance to bring your heart rate back down and finish your beer.

If you are starving for music that evokes the spirit of those bands that took your virginity and made you love Rock and Roll in the first place, then Raise a Little Hell is the record for you, and The Answer is indeed the answer to the question you have been asking for a very long time.