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The Cell - Keepin’ On, Rollin’ Hard

Prison Records

Time-52:45

www.thecell.cz

Blues-rock from Prague, Czech Republic that is heavily influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Doobie Brothers, Foghat, The Marshall Tucker Band and others of that ilk…who knew? Once you get past the slight accents of the lead vocalists, you find yourself in the land of classic arena rock with a strong southern rock bent. They’re equipped with two guitarists and two female backing vocalists. Michal Cerman has taken over lead vocal duties from American David Gore on this their second release. Gore does a few cameos on this record as well as co-writing eleven out of twelve original songs with guitarist Michal Benes. It’s all here-power- chords, scorching guitar solos, references to whiskey, advice about picking up woman, etc..

“Time Of My Life” gets things moving in style with screeching guitar duels and ensemble vocals. Some really nicely done Clapton style guitar is featured on “Someday”, the requisite song about the power of the music, which also includes a brief bass solo. The kickoff to the “How To Pick Up Girls Song”- “How ‘bout You” sounds very similar to “Lay Down Sally”. What self-respecting blues-rock band would be caught dead without a song called “Let It Ride”?, not this one.

Banjo plunks along with electric guitar on “Nothing Better To Do”, which has one of the girls handling the lead vocal. The song and her voice are pleasant enough on this LeAnn Rimes cover, although at times her accent makes it hard make out of some of the lyrics. The rockin’ boogie of “Pieces Of Wild” wouldn’t be out-of-place on a Foghat record, with first class guitar “fencing”. The Z.Z. Top vibe is infused in the tale of being a “Rock Star”, as the opening sounds like “Sharp Dressed Man”. Organ and slide guitar flesh out the sound. The record closes out with the mellow “Out Of Time” voiced by one of the female singers.

This band has surely absorbed the southern rock sound from their distant land. They employ one of the genre’s signatures’ dual-lead guitars to good effect. You expect them to break into “Free Bird” or The Outlaws’ “High Tides And Green Grass” at any moment. The production values and well arranged guitar solos are spot on. The listening experience is rewarding, but you don’t find any riffs or melodies sticking with you later. Any aficionados of this type of rock music will find themselves saying-“Czech please!” in a positive way. Sorry, I couldn’t resist, I may never get the chance to use that line again. They have done a fine job of respecting the genre without copying it.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

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