Throughout a solo career of stylistic mood swings, Glenn Hughes has seemingly refused to make the album it seemed reasonable to expect from the man who put hard funk into hard rock on classic mid-70s works by Trapeze and (especially) Deep Purple.
Over the last six years he’s impressed as a member of Black Country Communion and California Breed, yet in the background was the nagging suspicion that on his solo records (apart from 1994’s AOR-style From Now On, his first clean and sober), Hughes had sold himself short. Now, with new album Resonate, he has come up with The Big One. The album forged in his DNA.
On this evidence, he didn’t need a superstar band (although Hughes’s friend and Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith guests on two tracks, only main drummer Pontus Enborg has any real profile) or a big-name producer (a joint credit here for Hughes and his virtually unknown new guitarist Sorens Andersen) – he just needed to find his mojo. All along it was hidden in plain sight: in his past.
There are nods to Purple everywhere: in the colour of his logo and the lenses in Hughes’s glasses on the otherwise monochrome cover; in keyboard player Lachy Doley’s occasional Jon Lord homages – especially the Hammond intro to Steady (which then heads off in another direction entirely, occasionally echoing the soulful work of Glenn’s first solo album, Play Me Out); and the solo in How Long. And while not quite Purple, opener Heavy (with Smith) was hewn from Rainbow’s Man On The Silver Mountain.
More significantly, though, is the sense that Resonate sees Hughes finally cut an album to stand alongside the best of his numerous short-lived collaborations – namely, the spectacular Hughes-Thrall of 1982, recorded with Pat Thrall. Andersen’s stomping riff on My Town, like God Of Money and others, could all have graced that album.
After the soul-packed When I Fall and some lovely Hendrix-like guitar in Landmines, Stumble & Go might have been the perfect album-closer, until Hughes picked up an acoustic guitar for the intro that becomes Long Time Gone, sounding uncannily like an old Trapeze number.
So with all the rock boxes ticked, how’s his singing? I always hated that Voice Of Rock epithet because it was coined by the KLF, but here he claims it as his own. From almost guttural growls to high notes at the top of an apparently undiminished range, age has not wearied him. A masterclass.