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California Breed
June 2014
Released: 2014, Frontiers Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Celtic Bob

CALIFORNIA BREED is the highly anticipated Self Titled debut from Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham along with newcomer Andrew Watt. With the hype that surrounds this project and expectations high there was a lot to live up to. The thing is, does it deliver?

I say it delivers on all accounts. It is something unique that we’ve never hear before yet there is a bit of familiarity to it. I was interested in this as soon as I read about it but once I heard the debut single “Sweet Tea” I was really anticipating it’s release. It had that heavy Bonham drum sound to it. Jason has really come into his own and lives up to the family name. Never a big Hughes fan personally but appreciated his work. This one emphasizes that.The song “All Falls Down” really gives you an appreciation for how great his voice is. After listening to the album and hearing the songs like “Chemical Rain”, the debut single “Sweet Tea” and especially “Midnight Oil” you cannot help but really get into the music and every aspect of it. The music is very complex and takes a few spins to really get into but once you do you will love the album. It’s not as technical as a Progressive album by a Dream Theater-type band but more than the average band. There is a lot going on musically and at times you’d think it’s a little too much but it grows on you. Upon my initial listen I thought the album was too busy and noisy but after a few spins that initial impression all but vanished. The album really grows on you. It is a solid Hard Rock album.

A definite grower of an album. All three of the musicians are on top of their game and you’d swear that all of them were seasoned veterans. Watt fits in perfectly with Bonham and Hughes. His guitar playing is killer, excellent tone, amazing solos...etc. The perfect guitarist for the heavy pounding of Jason’s drums and Glenn’s melodic bass thumping along. Definitely one of the year’s top albums that is sure to be on many people’s favorite list come year end. A definite own.
Track Listing

The Way
Sweet Tea
Chemical Rain
Midnight Oil
All Falls Down
The Grey
Days They Come
Spit You Out


Glenn Hughes (Vocals, Bass)
Jason Bonham (Drums)
Andrew Watt (Guitar, Vocals)



Other reviews

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by Celtic Bob

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by Erich

Next review: » California Breed - S/T
Previous review: » Caliban - The Awakening

California Breed
November 2014
Released: 2014, Frontiers Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

California Breed is a trio that includes veteran rockers Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham and relative newcomer on guitar, Andrew Watt. The band’s self-titled debut combines elements of the old and new, with much of Hughes and Bonham’s Black Country Communion project coming through. Old would be the 70s styled rock riffs and Hughes incredibly robust vocals, recalling Robert Plant’s glory days and Hughes being in his 60s! New would be the very subtle rhythmic influences of Grunge, which 23 year old guitarist Watt listened to while growing up. New would also be the slick, modern production qualities. However, make no mistake this is mostly classic hard rock with touches of heaviness, incorporating elements of Zeppelin, Cream, and even some Deep Purple (surprise).

The chemistry of the band is unmistakable and Watt proves to be a well-versed student of rock rhythm. “The Way” opens thing with a stuttering Zeppelin style riff, and some of Hughes most versatile vocal work on the album. Bonham is the glue that makes things stick, providing what is needed without overplaying. “Sweet Tea” is a catchy song, unmistakably due to the blatant pirating of Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” riff for the verse. “Midnight Oil” is another standout tune, with a catchy riff and nods to Zeppelin before a Rolling Stones chorus. The band carves its way through an album of tunes, never straying far from the importance of riff and timing at the expense of more technical flourishes.

Despite the many positive and admirable elements in the album, there are some undeniable flaws as well. The guitar tone is overdriven and fuzzy on the entire album, a sound that eventually becomes as tiresome as AC/DC on endless repeat. “All Falls Down” is unplugged and serves as a badly needed injection of guitar variety on an album with few departures. True to the Grunge influences of Watt, solos and technical flourish are a rare occurrence. That is not a problem if the songs are all crown jewels, but unfortunately that is not the case. One final note is that from a band of veterans, you would have hoped for less derivative material. “Breathe” is a White Stripes/Jack White impersonation and I have already pointed out the Robert Palmer rip-off on “Sweet Tea”.

In sum, CALIFORNIA BREED is an interesting and often enjoyable album. Hughes’s vocals are simply fantastic, and Bonham offers some of the best drumming of his career. A bit more variety and songs with a more original vibe would have helped propel things higher. Fans of Black Country Communion, Led Zeppelin, Jack White and 70s riff-rock in general will likely find a few nuggets to enjoy on this trio’s debut.
Track Listing

1. ‘The Way’

2. ‘Sweet Tea’

3. ‘Chemical Rain’

4. ‘Midnight Oil’

5. ‘All Falls Down’

6. ‘The Grey’

7. ‘Days They Come’

8. ‘Spit You Out’

9. ‘Strong’

10. ‘Invisible’

11. ‘Scars’

12. ‘Breathe’


Glenn Hughes: vocals, bass guitar
Jason Bonham: drums
Andrew Watt: guitars

Other reviews

» S/T
by Celtic Bob

» S/T
by Erich

Next review: » Caligula - Not Too Short to Be Great
Previous review: » Caliban - The Awakening

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