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Riverdogs: World Gone Mad

Tantalisingly short, but the magic’s still there

Here’s another unexpected though welcome consequence of Def Leppard’s recent layoff. World Gone Mad is the first Riverdogs album to feature the guitar playing of Vivian Campbell since the band’s self-titled debut in 1990.

Back then, between Whitesnake and his current gig, Campbell agreed to produce the group’s first demo but enjoyed their music so much he became a fully-fledged member.

Somehow the world managed to overlook the easy-going charms of said debut which nevertheless attained the status of a cult classic, but although the ’Dogs released one further studio album and a live set they did so minus Campbell. Many of these songs were recorded as demos during a 2003 reunion but never completed – until now. With its references to al-Qaeda and American Idol, the title track certainly acknowledges the present-day society, a lyrical theme maintained in part by the downbeat Big Steel Town, but the Riverdogs don’t pretend to be anything they’re not.

Indeed, their sound remains uncomplicated, melodic and very, very classy indeed. In fact, the album’s chief drawback is that its eight songs – including a concert rendition of Badfinger’s No Matter What – have a combined playing time of around 25 minutes.