ESP Album Review


Ever since Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer got nixed from the Kiss carnival, the guitarist and stickman have held a variety of guest spots (Kulick rocking with Boot Camp; Singer touring with hard-hearted Alice Cooper). Kulick also formed the band Union, and that band's belter (and brief Motley Crue vox-man) John Corabi tags along for the (apparent) one-off ESP (Eric Singer Project) which also includes former Frehley's Comet Karl Cochran. This collection of covers contains as much personality as one would expect from peripheral talent, but the song selection is actually quite extraordinary: a veritable history lesson in hard rock. Sure, some unseemly fodder demonstrates how certain standards should be left alone, because only the original can pull it off ("Free Ride") and no one wants another version anyway ("Won't Get Fooled Again?". Glam-master Sweet's "Set Me Free" has already been worked over by Saxon and Vince Neil, but it does rule, as does Johnny Winter's "Still Alive and Well" and "Four Day Creep" by Humble Pie (not to mention Montrose's long-lost "Twenty Flight Rock"). The Aero-delight "S.O.S" and Deep Purple's "Never Before" bring back memories of vintage albums that remain untouchable. Nazareth's loud n' proud "Teenage Nervous Breakdown" is also the kind of diamond that deserves to be dusted off and displayed.  The boys can't resist kicking out one Kiss classic, and the sobering "Goin' Blind" fits well. Ace even lays down some stellar guitar on the too-often-covered "Foxy Lady," and the entire band smokes throughout this vital revival vinyl. These fine cuts show ESP to be avid music collectors, and who else is listening at this point? ESP was raised on this stuff, just like the folks shelling out for this record. It's too bad killer album tracks like these are usually obscured by overplayed masterpieces like "Smoke on the Water," but this unfortunate slight makes looking back with ESP all the more pleasurable.

-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC
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