Out Now

(Frontiers Records)

 

Stick former Whitesnake hero Neil Murray in a studio with a Who’s Who of blues rock royalty and the end result is entirely predictable: Second Skin features a classy set of timeless anthems fusing the creative freedom of the late 70s with a crisp and compelling 2017 production.

When Snakecharmer ask Are You Ready To Fly the answer’s inevitable. But even long-time fans of Coverdale, Hughes and Gillan couldn’t have expected Chris Ousey to reach such dizzying vocal heights. Complemented by the brilliant Simon McBride (stepping into Micky Moody’s sizeable shoes), the singer’s self-confidence sets the tone on an assured and ambient classic rock masterpiece.

Follow Me Under benefits from Adam Wakeman’s astute understanding of how keyboards can utterly transform a potential blues classic and the surprise here is that the top tinkler only boasts a single writing credit on Second Skin (on ballsy opener Sounds Like A Plan).

Elsewhere McBride and Laurie Wisefield are masterful as a six-string partnership par excellence: whether they’re ultra-competitive or simply on the same creative wavelength (or both), theirs is the spark that frequently ignites an explosive record.

The mercurial Murray and veteran Thunder/Magnum stixman Harry James hold everything together with a certain aplomb and it’s impossible to pick fault with Second Skin.