Review: Warrior Soul – Cocaine and Other Good Stuff
Livewire/Cargo Records UK (November 13th 2020)
Reviewer: Grant Foster
Does the world really need another covers album? This is the question I’m gonna judge this album by. In the press release, main man Kory Clarke says – “The album is an incendiary compilation of songs that everyone in the band, both current and previous members, had some input choosing, and it shows true honesty in the recordings, making it a fresh take on some very listenable rock jams.”
So there you have it. But is it really an incendiary compilation? No doubting that opening with The Cars’ ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ was a left field option. But to my ears it lacks sparkle and comes across just flat. Disappointing! But second song, ‘Cocaine‘, isn’t. WS really nail the sleazy side of this and Clarke’s vocals are as in the gutter and lived in to convey it.
Hendrix’s ‘Crosstown Traffic’ up next. The band really fire up on this, but I’m not sure Clarke delivers his best vocal here. Kiss’ ‘Cold Gin’ is an interesting take, due to Clarke’s vocal interpretation. Imagine Gene Simmons and Peter Criss melted together. Seriously! Clarke definitely shines here, in a strange kind of way, but it kind of works. It evens sounds like it has been recorded back in the 70’s. Good effort!
With the recent sad loss of Eddie Van Halen, ‘DOA’, is a poignant track. WS approach it with almost a punky attack. Obviously the guitar isn’t in the same league, but then who is? But there is great merit to this all the same. When you take on a stone cold classic like Alice Cooper’s ‘Elected’, you gotta get it bang on, or add something, if it’s at all possible. The band actually come close. It’s therefore surprising that what lets it down is the vocal. Kory Clarke hasn’t got the widest vocal range, so I thought this would be in his ball park, so to speak, but, you find yourself missing that spark that Alice delivers.
Motorhead’s ‘Outlaw’ next. This is much better. Clarke actually sounds closest to Lemmy than any of his other attempts here. Musically, it’s on the money too. A winner! They love a bit of Kiss do WS. So much so, we get ‘Firehouse’. They don’t overplay this and that’s a good thing. All space and tight with it. Vocally, Clarke nails it. Gritty and urgent.
The next one, for me, just doesn’t work at all. One thing that WS aren’t, is funky. Therefore their attempt at ‘Get Down Tonight’ by KC & the Sunshine Band just comes across as ham fisted. The chorus should be punchy and jumping, not flat and limp. ‘We’re An American Band.’ Well, WS definitely are! They fuzz up this Grand Funk Railroad track pretty well actually. I feel the chorus could have used some additional backing vocals to lift it though.
Last up is Priest’s classic, ‘Living After Midnight’. Although it doesn’t quite have the bite of the original, it’s quite charming and fun. Wait, did I just type that? Well, you’d have to be complete klutz’s to bugger this up. The verse’s chug along with menace and Clarke does a surprisingly good job of roughing up Rob Halford.
So, back to my original question. Does the world need another covers album? Absolutely not. Is it an incendiary compilation? No. But, you can tell it’s been done with love and affection. And sometimes, that’s just about enough.