The reason that Slash’s 2010 self-titled album was so good was because it felt like effort was put into it. This is the world-renowned, talismanic guitarist from Guns N’ Roses, after all, a man who could’ve thrown out any sub-par hard rock time-waster and done serious numbers on name recognition alone. But by assembling a murderers’ row of genuine rock icons for every song, there was so much extra worth than any potential mediocrity. No, the mediocre stuff would come on every subsequent release, with an in-house band comprised of Myles Kennedy on vocals and some relative unknowns elsewhere, to deliver meat-and-potatoes hard rock albums befitting of neither’s storied legacies. And it begs the question of why so many people actually get excited about new Slash albums nowadays, besides maybe Alter Bridge fans who essentially get another album every couple of years.
Actually, an Alter Bridge album might have some progressiveness or interesting guitar technicality to it; with Living The Dream, Slash, Myles and co. couldn’t sound less checked-out if they tried in what is, without a shadow of a doubt, their least essential, and really least necessary album to date. Because let’s face it – does anyone really want an album whose primary selling point is Slash pulling the strings to go in his own direction, only to wind up with a half-hearted hard rock album that, if it wasn’t for Kennedy’s presence acting as something of a saving grace, could be churned out by quite literally any other band in this same vein? It’s pointless, and when it’s this forgettable too, you have to wonder why they even bothered with this one.
Obviously it’s not incompetent or anything; with the half-a-billion dollars grossed on the last Guns N’ Roses tour, you’d expect Slash to be able to afford some half-decent production, and thus the guitar work is suitable rocky and Kennedy gets enough room for his considerable pipes to shine. But it’s the fact that none of this stands out whatsoever beyond the vocals, and with Slash clearly running on autopilot for the likes of Mind Your Manners and Slow Grind, there’s such a facelessness to this album that even Slash’s other solo works have never had. There’s none of the dazzling guitar pyrotechnics that we’ve all come to expect, and it’s instead replaced by plodding pub-rock like Serve You Right that’s indicative of playing it safe in the worst way possible. Honestly, for the most part, you can’t even tell that Slash is involved with this, given how it simply waltzes on by leaving no impression whatsoever, and while tracks like Lost Inside The Girl and Read Between The Lines do it better than others, when the majority is so pedestrian that it’s not worth caring, is there any point to pick out the areas that are the least bad?
And it would be tempting to go into greater detail about how this just-shy-of-an-hour long album never changes or picks up more inspiration beyond beyond half-paced meandering, but it’s so forgettable and there’s so little of note here that it’s not worth it. It’s almost as if Slash knows that he never needs to make another album at this point, so has instead resorted just to throw anything out to hold fans over who won’t care about any sort of quality. It’s not as if they will either – Slash’s name plastered on the cover is an easy sell for enough people to get away with this – but for such a decorated and world-renowned guitarist as he is, more than this isn’t out of the question.
For fans of: AC/DC, Alter Bridge, Airbourne
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Living The Dream’ by Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators is out now on Snakepit Records.