There’s a bit of expectation coupled with the release of Black Stone Cherry’s fourth album ‘Magic Mountain’. It’s unusual as BSC have traditionally been that understated band that turns up on your doorstep every year, rocks your socks off and moves on with little fuss. They are not your typical cover stars and they don’t court controversy to sell tickets and records. They just…rock.
BSC never needed any gimmicks and they’ve certainly never been force fed to us through the media; the band made a natural connection with audiences many years ago and have slowly built on that following. Now they’re at arena headliner status, and hence why there’s a few wondering whether they’ll be able to step up to the next rung.
Anyone who’s followed the band for a while will know they are more than capable however.
There are certain bands that just cater to the wider audience. Black Stone Cherry have the ability to entice the widest of crowds in with their straight forward classic sounding rock. A string of successful Download Festival performances over the years has proved that. There are very few bands that can command the attention of that colossal field year on year, but BSC have managed it every time they have played. They drag them all in, the kids, the Goths, the Monsters of Rock crew and the Slayer maniacs; all in the name of good time rock’n’roll.
‘Magic Mountain’ packs a punch of a band still on an upward trajectory. Stepping slightly away from their a little bit too glossy third album, ‘Holding on…To Letting Go’ has a heavier than expected riff to it whilst maintaining some great melody in the vocal department. ‘Peace Pipe’ mixes another gritty opening riff with a reflective ballad too.
‘Magic Mountain’ is an album that has been born out of unusually troubled times for BSC. With the band now coming out of a bit a black patch, there’s a feeling of reflection and hope in most of the songs but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t rock hard too…
The swagger in ‘Bad Luck & Hard Love’ is the first track on the album to get the pulse racing that bit faster and unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll already be familiar with the towering ‘Me and Mary Jane’. It’s a typical lead single from BSC, timeless and hook-filled classic rock. They do make it seem effortless and very natural. There’s a loose and easy feel to this album that you can’t fake, it just sounds right.
‘Sometimes’ is an interesting one. Chris Robertson embraces his inner Eddie Vedder for one of the most laid back tracks on the album. For every slow number, the BSC boys crank out the southern riffs on the next however and ‘Never Surrender’ is a big ballsy one to get heads banging.
It all adds up to a wonderfully balanced album. It all sounds too easy for BSC really. Whilst there are literally hundreds of bands breaking their necks to be retro/vintage and all things classic rock, BSC just seem to be naturally in-tune with timeless rock music. They don’t need the moth-eaten velvet suits etc. to fit the part. This is just what they do.
Wembley Arena is in for a treat this year.