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CD: Whitesnake - Flesh & Blood | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Whitesnake - Flesh & Blood

CD: Whitesnake - Flesh & Blood

David Coverdale's heavy rock troopers return with a mixed offering

Leathery but wax-sealed to authenticate its origins

Whitesnake were always the most absurdly priapic of the successful Eighties heavy rockers. It was therefore with some glee that this writer approached their 13th studio album. In the snowflake age, where offence is taken at the slightest politically incorrect infraction, these hoary oldsters would surely be a ball. They did, after all, once infamously release an album entitled Slide It In. It turns out, however, that for much of the time, overblown musical cliché is the lasting aftertaste.

David Coverdale has led Whitesnake for just over 40 years although, of the rest of the band, only drummer Tommy Aldridge’s tenure goes back further than a 2002 reformation. The singer’s voice remains in fine fettle, achieving the requisite Robert Plant-style screech but now whisky-weathered in places. His way with lyrics has mellowed but still mostly concerns “luuuurve”, a notable couplet being “Lord have mercy, I’m falling in love with you/I can’t keep my hands to myself, baby, I’m so smooth.” But then that’s what Whitesnake do so hardly reason for complaint.

More wearing is a formulaic multi-tracked smoothness which reaches its sub-Def Leppard nadir on the terrace anthemic “Well I Never”. There’s too much that’s way too expected; the power ballad moments track ground that was worn to dust 30 years ago, with the truly dreadful “Always & Forever” a real low. However, Flesh & Blood also has its share of enjoyable moments for those seeking this kind of hokum.

From amid the police sirens of “Trouble is my Middle Name” a catchy pop-blues rocker emerges, with American guitarists Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach turning in scorching fret-wrangling; “Hey You (You Make Me Rock)” has a ridiculous title but is an frollicking headbanger, the down-tuned riffage of “Sands of Time” and the acoustic number “After All” change the pace. And then there’s the enjoyably rampaging “Get Up”: “Come on, baby, you’ve heard it all before/But I’ll keep knockin’ till you open up your door.” Oh David.

Below: Watch the video for "Shut Up & Kiss Me" by Whitesnake from the album Flesh & Blood

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