Whitesnake: Flesh & Blood album review

David Coverdale shows he can still keep it up after all these years, as Whitesnake unfurl Flesh & Blood

Whitesnake: Flesh & Blood

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Whitesnake: Flesh & Blood

Whitesnake: Flesh & Blood

1. Good To See You Again
2. Gonna Be Alright
3. Shut Up & Kiss Me 
4. Hey You (You Make Me Rock)
5. Always & Forever 
6. When I Think Of You (Color Me Blue)
7. Trouble Is Your Middle Name 
8. Flesh & Blood 
9. Well I Never 
10. Heart Of Stone
11. Get Up 
12. After All 
13. Sands Of Time

Much like a Whitesnake lyric about ladies’ underwear, David Coverdale’s career’s been up and down over the past decade. It’s been eight years since Whitesnake’s well received Forevermore album, but, as Cov might croon, he’s hit a bit of a damp patch since then. 

At their kindest, the live reviews have been uneven (waning vocals, a band seemingly incapable of playing with bluesy finesse), and 2015’s The Purple Album actually managed to make you forget just how much you used to love Deep Purple

Thankfully Glenn Hughes was soon on hand to rekindle that flame with his stellar Purple live shows, which, you’d like to imagine, might have made Cov purse his lips like Cruella De Ville. 

Those hoping that the new Whitesnake album record will recall Coverdale’s smoky, Lovehunter past should look away now. It was 1987 that made him an international superstar, the owner of a trophy wife, an MTV darling and a rueful divorcee all in the space of a few years, and those kinds of things leave their mark. 

But if you want something to listen to while driving with the top down in some steamy Californian clime, then this Whitesnake is hard to beat. Admittedly, Cov rhymes ‘fire’, ‘desire’ and ‘higher’ with almost indecent haste, but by this point he’s already referred to his audience members as ‘kings and queens’, so it’s hard to quibble over a couplet or two. 

Coverdale understood American radio in the 80s, and that might be why he still writes for it. And he does it so well. Hey You (You Make Me Rock) is a rousing arena set-opener much like Bon Jovi used to write before Jon started wondering what musical legacy he might leave. 

Always & Forever is the kind of mid-tempo groove that made Coverdale enough money that he never had to worry about buying turquoise jewellery again. It’s easy to be snide, but it’s a truly lovely song, as is the slowly chugging When I Think Of You (Colour Me Blue)

If MTV still showed music videos there’d be no getting away from it, and nor would you want to. He’s all mic stand and trousers in songs like Trouble Is Your Middle Name and Get Up, but you can forgive him those clumsy transgressions for a song like the gentle After All, even if Sands Of Time lets you know how much he still wishes he’d written Kashmir.

Philip Wilding

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.