The debut album from rock supergroup Something Unto Nothing is perhaps the first great rock record of 2013. The band—Sass Jordan (Canadian Idol), Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne), Michael Devin (Whitesnake, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Kenny Wayne Shepherd), and Tommy Stewart (Godsmack, Lo Pro, Everclear, Fuel) have come together for a record that’s a solid, no-nonsense rock record. The project was originally started by Jordan and band mate Brian Tichy. Tichy notes in an interview about the album, “I had played drums on Sass’ Rats record.” He added, “I knew she was one of the best rock singers out there. So after many years, we reconnected and tried a bit of writing together.”
Fans of the stoner rock genre will especially enjoy this album as it opens with a sound similar to the likes of Fireball Ministry, Nebula, and others of that ilk. Jordan even noted in an interview of how the album came to develop its sound. “As we continued the songwriting path from the quintessential rock tunes, ‘Burned’ to ‘Mobile Again’ to ‘Nomad’ and on…The whole thing started to take shape in the form of a 70’s odyssey, a time travel trajectory”, she said. That couldn’t be truer. The album’s opener, ‘Burned’ will take audiences back to rock’s heyday thanks to the combination of Sass’ vocals and the band’s musical backing. Sass sounds like some wild hybrid of Janis Joplin and fellow veteran vocalist, Geddy Lee (Rush). Stewart expertly keeps a solid 4/4 beat for the band all while tossing in some nice little flourishes throughout. And Tichy’s guitar work is just as solid here. Just as Stewart’s drumming proves the K.I.S.S. formula true, so does Tichy’s guitar work. There’s nothing overdone about what he does here. But it’s that simplicity and solid playing that makes this the right choice for a first impression on this record.
The band follows up the success of ‘Burned’ with an equally simple yet rocking song in ‘Crazy Head.’ There’s no question what this song is about, lyrically speaking. It’s a song about a relationship issue. Given, that’s the most common lyrical topic of any song. But it’s the way the topic is tackled both lyrically and musically that makes it such an interesting piece. Jordan sings in the song, “You, You, you/You’re crazy/Don’t you call me baby/You, you , you/You’re crazy/You got a crazy head.” It’s amazing what a few words can do. But that chorus is enough to explain everything that’s needed to understand this song. This is not just some “oh-woe-is-me” style song. This is coming from the standpoint of a strong empowered individual. It’s someone who isn’t going to take any junk from anyone. Add in the music’s fiery exuberance, and that becomes increasingly clear. Yet again, Brian Tichy shines on this song, adding a solo that would make any guitar purist proud.
The band continues much in the same style in the album’s very next song, ‘Nomad.’ This is one of those songs that will instantly have the horns in the air and the hair flying as heads bang. It’s sure to become a fan favorite both from the record and both as the band hits the road to perform the songs from this album live. And for those worrying about whether or not this first trio of songs is all that the band has to offer on its debut, those fears are instantly silenced as the band launches in the Red Hot Chili Peppers style funk-rock of ‘Did Me No Good.’ Together, Tichy and bassist Michael Devin make for a sound that would make RHCP guitarist and bassist Josh Klinghoffer and Flea happy. The band barely lets up from here with the southern rock styling of the album’s next two tracks, ‘Mobile Again’ and ‘I’m The One.’ ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd fans will appreciate ‘Mobile Again’ with its classic southern rock sound. The same applies with ‘I’m The One.’ There’s more than enough rock to make any rock purist happy. For those who want something a little softer, Something Unto Nothing offers that, too as it only slows down a few times. That slowing is just enough to let listeners catch their breath before the band launches into its next aural assault. The last of the slower songs is the album’s closer, ‘Goodbye.’ On the surface, it would appear that this is a breakup song as Jordan sings, “I don’t want to leave you/But I’ve got to say/Goodbye.” And given the song’s tone, it would appear even more that this is a song about a breakup. But on a deeper level, it could also be interpreted as Jordan and company saying goodbye for now. It’s as if she and her band mates are collectively saying, “We’ve had a blast entertaining you, and we don’t want to have to leave, but we have to say goodbye.” On that level, it’s a fitting end to what is without a doubt one of the first great rock records of 2013.
The band currently wrapped a series of dates in support of its new album. In order to find out when the band will next be hitting the road, fans can check out the band online at http://www.somethingunto.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/SUN-Something-Unto-Nothing/177605938956922, https://www.twitter.com/teamsassjordan, and http://www.reverbnation.com/sunsomethinguntonothing.
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