"Here on the Outside" (Ruffnation/Warner Bros.)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Here on the Outside" is named after the CD's first track. And there's a reason for that. "Here on the Outside" is one of those tracks that delivers a solid kick the first time through and then somehow haunts you for days afterward, creeping into you mind at the strangest moments and making you feel the urge to go back and play the CD over and over again.

That same feeling doesn't happen throughout the other tracks, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good CD. Tidewater Grain are hard rock that leans toward middle career Deep Purple, earlier Van Halen and (surprisingly enough) later bands like Soundgarden. It's post-Grunge rock that makes its mark with powerful musicianship and strong songwriting. Vocalist Kevin McNamara sings with a strong, voice that brings to mind Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, which is interesting because Hughes also provides some back-up vocals on this record. The songs are all solid rockers, heavily guitar-driven and perfectly paced.

Production by Kevin "Caveman" Shirley and Malcolm Springer is excellent throughout, with the sound being full and crisp. And, as if one "Here on the Outside" isn't enough, the CD ends with another version - the 'Caveman Version' mix.

Those who think that hard rock has strayed too far from its roots need only listen here. More than anything else, "Here on the Outside" reminds the listener of the first Van Halen CD ... and we all know where that went.

TIDEWATER GRAIN: Kevin McNamara - vocals; John Daly - guitar; Dave Lord - guitar; Dave Fritz - bass; James Billington - drums/piano.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Jul 2018 12:31:50 -0400 .