Hand Of Dimes - Raise album review

Pomp-rock: alive and well and living in Wales (!)

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Some may wonder the whereabouts of Nev MacDonald following Skin’s return to hiatus. One of the greatest voices of British hard rock cannot be sitting at home twiddling his thumbs, surely?

The news is good. Better than good, in fact. When Skin ran aground in 2013, MacDonald placed a call to Neil Garland, keysman in the frontman’s pre-Skin band Kooga – a group responsible for Across The Water, an underappreciated pomp-rock masterpiece from 1986. The result was Hand Of Dimes, a brand new unit that references the Kooga blueprint of strong, commercial and soulful bluesy hard rock, embellished with an understated yet discernible progressive edge. MacDonald still has those pipes and the album is rammed to the hilt with cleverly written, immensely memorable tunes.

The only grumble is that four of its tracks were previously issued on an EP from 2012. Musically speaking, however, Raise represents a hugely promising start.