Album Review By Rick Tilley
Just take a look at the logo and artwork of High Spirits third album ‘Motivator’! Does it give you very nostalgic memories of late 70’s and early 80’s Metal and Rock releases? Well it certainly does to me and as Chicago based High Spirits are a new name on my radar it gave me hope that the music contained on the album instilled the same feeling! I’m very pleased to be able to tell you that it does indeed. ‘Motivator’ is a great, up-tempo, uplifting and feel good selection of tunes that skirt the NWOBHM / Hard Rock sound of that era. It may not be the most essential album you’ll hear but if you want a trip down memory lane, whilst listening to a band that manage to make the style feel fresh and fun then you won’t go wrong getting hold of ‘Motivator’!
High Spirits, formed in 2009, is the brainchild and solo project (at least in the studio) of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Chris Black. Chris has been involved in many projects over the years, most notably Pharaoh and Dawnbringer. Yes, everything on this album is done by one man but you certainly wouldn’t believe it from listening, it really does sound like five or six people playing. Of course whilst gigging, which High Spirits seem to do quite a bit of, Chris is joined by other musicians hence the promo picture below! Considering everything Chris does it’s difficult to know where he finds the time but this appears to be a man that can combine quantity with quality.
Musically ‘Motivator’ is a little gem and, at just shy of thirty minutes, is an album that leaves you wanting more. In an era where some bands are releasing EP’s longer than this and albums that barely fit on a CD, it’s tremendously refreshing to have a short and sharp selection of tracks that do exactly what they say on the tin! There are plenty of references to Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Nightwing and Foghat throughout. In fact, if you are old enough to remember the two ‘Metal For Muthas’ albums that DJ Neal Kaye compiled in the early 1980’s comprising of up and coming or underground bands then you’ll love High Spirits because they really do have that authentic feel to them!
Chris may not have the best voice you’ve ever heard but he is more than adequate, in fact it’s quite frustrating, in a nice way, to realise how good he is at every instrument. Some people are so damn talented! Production is also pretty good. Once again it gives the listener an authentic experience but still manages to sound up to date as well. Tracks such as opener ‘Flying High’, ‘Do You Wanna Be Famous’, ‘This Is The Night’ and ‘Thank You’ put a huge, cheesy grin on my face for all the right reasons and I nearly attempted to get back in my skinny jeans until I came to my 49 year old senses and avoided a hernia!
If you are fan of any of the above named bands or just fancy listening to an album that’s pure, unadulterated fun and obviously made with a lot of respect then ‘Motivator’ could be right up your street. I’m certainly going to check out High Spirits’ back catalogue
Up And Overture
This Is The Night
Reach For The Glory
Do You Wanna Be Face
Haunted By love
Down The Endless Road
Take Me Home
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