Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stone Axe - s/t

Stone Axe
s/t (2-Disc Expanded Edition)

A mere two years have passed since Pacific Northwest duo Stone Axe first released this record, but moving from self-releases to a rising underground rock label apparently requires an upgrade to an edition with live bonus cuts and a DVD. For those not familiar, Stone Axe consists of multi-instrumentalist/songwriter T. Dallas Reed, late of Mos Generator, and singer Dru Brinkerhoff, formerly of the Swinos. (Bassist Mike Dupont and drummer Mikey Haslip join them for gigs.) Bonded over a mutual love of 70s classic rock, the pair doesn’t even try to sound contemporary, instead laying out its fetish for the Jeff Beck Group, Humble Pie and Thin Lizzy for all to see. It’s an approach that’s been done, of course – some might even say to death. But Reed and Brinkerhoff play this riff-happy hard rock as if it was new, emitting a fresh scent most bands of Stone Axe’s ilk can’t deliver. It doesn’t hurt that the band actually cooks – Reed is a solid songwriter and a deft guitarist, and Brinkerhoff is a flamboyant cracker soul belter without being over the top. (Plus he can deliver a line like Let your soul rekindle your mind with absolute conviction.) There’d Be Days, Black Widow and King of Everything would a welcome change to Led Zeppelin and Bad Company on the airwaves, and if Taking Me Home is a bit too much of an homage (Phil Lynott’s ghost is looking for his royalty check right now), at least it rips off one of the most underrated bands in the Klassic Rock Kingdom. If you like tuning into classic rock radio, but are sick of every song on it, Stone Axe is the LP for you.

- Michael Toland
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