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John Waite, Rough & Tumble
Fontana Records, Feb. 22

02/17/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Waite, as the former singer of Bad English and the Babys, can’t be expected to cater to hipsters, but in this economy a lot of stuff is being thrown against the wall by bands, and a little weirdness on this LP could have helped, regardless of the target demographic. He gets the garbage out of the way first — OK, let’s say more-or-less-garbage; the songs are all sweeping epic things one might expect of Bryan Adams or whatnot — in “Better Off Gone,” a Texas-begging pickup-truck-commercial exercise in slide guitar and repressed twang. Obviously the hope there is for country radio to look at the tune sideways and bring it home for a friendly black-bean dinner, but once this is out of the way the record becomes what you’d expect, a reliable set of big-production rockouts and ballads, Waite pushing his Don Henley tenor for effect here and there, pimping the risen/fallen/re-rising rock-star-ness for all the mortgage payments it might be able to cover.

B

—Eric W. Saeger






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