Rock Alliance is the brainchild of Black Stone founder member Stewart Sutherland. The songwriter/bassist wanted to create a high energy project featuring prominent rock musicians from around the globe and, as a result, we have this self-titled rocker.
Out on Perris Records, Rock Alliance features contributions from Eric Langlois (LIFT) on vocals, John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick (The Who, Johnny Nash) on the old Hammond organ, Marco Bressette (Protest the Hero, Dead Tired) on guitars and a plethora of drummers in the form of Kenny Aronoff (Mellencamp, Fogerty), Jason Pierce (Paramore), Chris Moore and Phil Robertson (Burton Cummings).
That’s the housekeeping out of the way, so how does the music stack up? Well, it took a few listens to really appreciate the album and to understand what exactly Stewart Sutherland was trying to achieve.
Rock Alliance gets off to a really good start with “Rock and Roll Resurrection”. Eric Langlois shows his ability and class with a voice perfectly suited to this type of AOR. He has power and melody in spades and the overall pace of this opener is spot on.
“Bad News Travels Fast” follows, which has had extensive radio airplay and is easy to know why. Catchy chorus and Langlois again on top form.
Unfortunately, the album fails to build on this promising start and I found that it chugs along in the same groove for the whole 31 minutes.
It has its moments, such as “Radio” and the two openers, but they all involve Langlois and his ability to drag mediocre songs up by their bootstraps to make them enjoyable. There are plenty of riffs to be had, but while there are frantic goings-on in the keyboard and guitar departments, they are only average support to Langlois’ vocals. Also, Rock Alliance seems bereft of enough quality solos to keep me interested. There is the odd one, such as on “Bad News Travels Fast”, but I feel Marco Bressette is happier playing a supporting role with light quick riffs and the odd guitar effect.
Overall, I felt that the album could have delivered more in support of Eric Langlois and that as a whole Rock Alliance produce less than the sum of their parts.