The Call of the Wild
Serve You Right
Mind Your Manners
Lost Inside the Girl
Read Between the Lines
The One You Loved Is Gone
The Great Pretender
Boulevard of Broken Hearts
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Okay, let’s forget all about Guns N’ Roses. At least for now. While GN’R offers Slash a nice way to bolster his bank balance and play to huge audiences, on the creative front Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy &The Conspirators is where he belongs.
Living The Dream is the band’s third, and best, album. It brings purpose and focus to the vision he and vocalist Myles Kennedy have for what they want to achieve. It has arena-rock attitude, but contained within songs and performances that are a lot more intimate and highly charged than you might expect. Slash’s punchy guitar style complements Kennedy’s passionate vocals, and in doing so brings to mind what Aerosmith achieved in the late 80s.
It begins with Call Of The Wild, which starts off taking you down an expected path but soon shifts mentality to throw you off balance. The same is true of Serve You Right, as the band display a capacity for bringing out the depth and power of the song, thereby avoiding any of those dreaded clichés you might have feared.
Lost Inside The Girl is clearly a song expressing inward confusion, but it does so with the clarity of artists who know what they’re saying to us. Read Between The Lines takes heads deep into a funk groove, and then once you’re hooked on the beat it gradually blossoms into a flying melody.
The band’s ability to coast across the hard rock spectrum is shown clearly on the garage spit Slow Grind, in which Kennedy’s chest-beating mentality tells of someone who will not be taken for granted. And if your bag is something a little more sensitive, then The One You Love will fit the bill.
But let’s not forget that this record, and this band, is actually about more than just Slash and Kennedy, and the Conspirators themselves add colour and shade where necessary, boosting the charismatic flow immeasurably. The Great Pretender (no, not a cover) is the album’s masterpiece, and is without doubt among the best things Slash has ever done.
When the album ends with the nostalgic whiff of teenage anxiety on Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, you’re left with the impression that this record takes protagonists and listener through the twists and turns of life’s enticements and deviousness, all done with no rancour, just a combination of delight and regret. This is what makes Living The Dream so compulsive