Album review: Slash’s Snakepit, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995)

 

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 16, 1995

By Steve Newton

Those Guns N’ Roses guys sure know how to have their cake and gobble it too. When nothing’s happening with big old moneymaker GN’R they just get a few rockin’ pals together, head into the studio with a few dozen crates of champagne, and come out with finished solo projects whenever they damn well feel like it. Sometimes those recordings turn out fine, like Gilby Clarke’s raucous, punk-inspired Pawnshop Guitars; other times they fail miserably, as with Duff McKagan’s lowly Believe in Me.

When it came time for Slash to toss his top hat into the solo ring, no doubt the folks at Geffen Records held their breath, praying he’d come up with something the legions of stagnating Guns N’ Roses fans could clutch on to while that cash cow founders. Geffen’s accountants can now rest easy, because It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere sounds just like GN’R with a different singer.

Slash’s raging guitar work is still the main attraction, and his skyrocketing riffs continue to be paced by the top-notch timing of Guns drummer Matt Sorum and rhythm guitarist Clarke. The new kids in the ’pit are Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez—whose inconspicuous role could have been handled by any hired gun—and former Jellyfish lead singer Eric Dover, who can screech almost as well as Axl Rose.

At first listen, the songwriting on It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere doesn’t live up to GN’R’s best work, but after a few listens, Clarke’s “Monkey Chow” and Slash’s “Be The Ball” emerge as serious hard-rock contenders. Most of the other tunes—coproduced by perennial Guns N’ Roses knob-twiddler Mike Clink—get by as raunchy window dressing for Slash’s first-rate Les Paul high jinks. His Snakepit doesn’t cut it in the power-ballad department, though, as the feeble closer, “Back and Forth Again”, readily proves.

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