Black Stone Cherry: Magic Mountain

Southern rock princes dig deep into the source

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On paper, the latest effort from Kentucky quartet Black Stone Cherry captures the essence of the all-American, bluesy hard rock that the likes of Alter Bridge and Clutch are known for, with driving beats and some slick and groovy riffs.

But while the first half of the album has all of the above, it’s not until Fiesta Del Fuego that things start to get interesting – from the hushed whispers of the pre-chorus to its rousing refrain, this is where the band start to inject some soul into their music, rather than relying on being super-polished, cool and heavy.

Towards the end of the track the band go into an on-the-spot jam which gives listening to the album a warmer, more intimate feel, almost like a live performance. From there, things just keep getting better: Holding On… To Letting Go is as danceable as Clutch’s Electric Worry, while Hollywood In Kentucky, with its portrait of dusty-booted Americana, sounds like an ode to Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The strongest track is lead single Me And Mary Jane, with its gritty and timeless chorus. After a tentative start, it’s evident that the spirit of rock’n’roll is alive in this band.