Not too long ago, a new CD from Sammy Hagar didn’t seem likely. He had joked that to record an album with his band, The Circle, would be a tall order given that they would have to create music that stands up to the music they play in their concerts. In other words, songs on the level with Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Montrose, Chickenfoot and, of course, Sammy’s solo material. Couple that with Sammy also saying that it’s a lot of work, money and commitment to create an album that may not sell enough to make back what he puts into it. Well, he did manage to inspire himself to put the new Sammy Hagar and The Circle CD, Space Between.
Not just a CD of new material, but a concept album. The concept is based on the misconception of money being the root of all evil. According to interviews with Sammy (and he’s been everywhere the last couple months), greed is the root of all evil as money can do a lot of good. It depends on what you do with it.
So, all that said, is this new music for Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Vic Johnson and Jason Bonham good? The Circle takes you on a journey. “Devil Came to Philly” is a just a few chords and drum beat and is a bit slow and short. Not really the opener I was expecting. That leads to “Full Circle Jam (Chump Change).” It’s rocks a little more, but feels unfinished and unrefined. “Can’t Hang” finally feels like a full song. Inspired by John Bonham’s drumming in “When the Levee Breaks,” it definitely has that vibe. Good song, but a still on the slower side. “Wide Open Space” is another slow one that sounds like a color-by-numbers Sammy ballad.
At this point, I was starting to think this CD was going to be a dud. Then “Free Man” kicked in and they hit their stride. This is a straight-up rocker that finally blows this album open. “Bottom Line” keeps up the energy. It reminds me a lot of “Red Voodoo” but a little heavier. Next up is “No Worries.” This song has been around for a little while and was included on the This is Sammy Hagar: When the Party Started Vol. 1 CD. It fits well here, both musically and lyrically. I’m glad to see it make it on a non-greatest hits CD.
“Trust Fund Baby” is another straight rocker pulling a riff straight from Montrose (he credits Ronnie Montrose in the songwriting). As the first single, it was a great way to introduce new music from The Circle. Some of the best guitar work on the CD on this one. Michael Anthony’s harmonies shine on this one especially. Everything gels here and leads up to “Affirmation” which is my favorite song on the album. Kick ass driv
ing riff that is just fun to listen to. This brings us to the final chapter, “Hey Hey (Without Greed).” I think this is meant to tie everything together as it’s very reminiscent of the first few songs. It’s a little clunky to end the CD on, but I look at is as kind of an overture. If it were a movie, this is where the credits would play.
Overall, like many journeys, it starts out a little slow and bumpy, but once it hits its stride, it rocks! At 35 minutes, the CD goes fast. I would have liked to have seen Sammy push himself a bit more on the first couple songs. They both are missing strong hooks that could have pushed the CD over the top. The second half makes up for it though. This is definitely a strong CD and I can’t wait to hear them play a few of these songs live. If you’re a Sammy fan in any way, you want to pick up Space Between.
Buy: Space Between