The Key To The Universe
Michael Des Barres
The Key To The Universe, Michael Des Barres' 2015 solo release, is a solid simple brilliant rock and roll record. Bassist Nigel Harrison (former Blondie and Silverhead with Des Barre), drummer Clive Deamer (from Portishead and Robert Plant) and guitarist Dani Robinson get down and dirty with the 67-year-old De Barres, who has never sounded better.
Linda Perry's "Can't Get You Off My Mind" is a fast and poppin' tune showcasing Des Barres' strong vocal. "Room Full Of Angels" has a bigger reach with a muted-verse-into-a-big-chorus mix, a single-note descending riff and a locked-in beat from Deamer in a song about how important friendship truly is. "Burning In Water" is a torchy gospel-like workout. The chorus slightly slows things down, but the verses kick in to high gear. "It's Just a Dream" features some extra special drumming from Clive Deamer, subtle walking from Harrison and a rhythm lead from Robinson in slinky little number about watching the world around one…and what is and what isn't a dream.
There is a great low down dirty strut to "Black Sheep," on what might be the best vocal on the album. I just love its nasty overdriven rhythm and Des Barres sounding so very British on the choruses. Danni Robinson once again gets a totally different tone from his guitar with space-age, high-flying leads. "Supernatural Lovers," with its funk, roiling middle stop-and-go, then running hard overdriven verses, is a killer ender. Des Barres talks verses like, "You are dynamite, I light the fuse" and "Guilty of lust I stand accused" in way-out funky fun with the bass and lead managing the riff behind a prevailing rhythm. How can you lose with a track like this? On The Key To The Universe, the man is certainly at the top of his game as songwriter, musician and vocalist. The album is available now via FOD Records at iTunes and Amazon.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.