The Answer - Raise A Little Hell (Napalm Records)

The Answer fire up a pretty good album here, let down by a couple of ballads too far, I guess that's why the Little is in the title
Release Date: 
6 Mar 2015 (All day)

This is the fourth full length album from Northern Ireland's The Answer who have been playing live now for 15 years. Long Live The Renegades kicks off proceedings with its groovy bass line before a tough sharp blues riff kicks in with the pounding drums and Cormac Neeson starts singing, sounding like a cross between Paul Rodgers and Brian Johnson. This dude has a seriously cool bluesy voice, and he knows how to use it as well.

The Other Side starts off sounding a little Aerosmith before it powers into a groovy riff that bounces along to the songs conclusion. Aristocrat screams Thin Lizzy with its chugging groove, and it's not that Cormac channels Lynott in his delivery, the song just drives along with that same kind of Lizzy intensity.

Cigarettes and Regret I can leave behind, it sounds like an outtake from one of Bon Jovi's recent country albums, in fact it would be right at home on a Keith Urban album - not a bad tune but not my cup of tea. Last Days Of Summer picks the rock vibe back up with Micky Waters again driving the song along with his simple bass grooves that just sound so good. There are some snarling blues licks being wrung out by guitarist Paul Mahon on this track too (which to be fair, he manages to do throughout much of the album).

Unfortunately, Strange Kinda Nothing is another ballad, but this one has a little more of a hair metal ballad vibe about it, coming so quickly after Cigarettes and Regret means that the momentum of the album kind of stumbles a little in the middle. It seems they're channelling their Irish brothers in U2 to close this track out, it meanders along with crooning vocals and a repetitive picked riff, even the drum rhythm feels like Larry Mullen Jr is playing it.

I Am What I Am sees the album slide back into the heavy rock and roll that The Answer do so well, the stop start riffs, big drum sound, the sexy low growl of Neeson, the big chorus and the impassioned solo. We're back on track now. Whiplash has nothing to do with Metallica or that excellent movie recently released but it does drive along nicely and has a very cool solo, this is one of the highlights of the album, Whiplash will prove a hit live, it has that kind of riff that will be hard not to jump up and down to.

Gone Too Long tries hard not to be a ballad but at its core that's exactly what it is, it kicks along a little harder that the other two ballads on here but it still slows the album down for me, it's like the break between innings in a T20 match, time to get a sausage and hit up the esky for another beer, or it's the toilet break and beer run song at the gig. You hear it once and know you're not going to miss it the next time around. 

Red sees that groove back and actually feels a little like Tom Sawyer in the verses, and there's a later day Crue song that the choruses remind me of but I can't quite name it. I Am Cured has a very cool slide intro and is another album highlight with its slinky riffage and dirty chorus. The album’s title track closes things out and maintains the standard set by all the other rockier tunes on the album. I particularly love the blues harp at the end of this tune, magic stuff.

Overall Raise A Little Hell displays a more mature approach to the song writing than on their earlier efforts, it's just unfortunate at times the band try to be too mature and for me that's when the album falls flat. Raise A Little Hell is full of big choruses and well thought out arrangements, The Answer generally keep the songs interesting and the overall performance on the rock tunes on Raise A Little Hell remind me of some of the old Aussie pub rock bands like The Poor, The Choirboys and Judge Mercy but with the big stage sound of bands like The Black Crowes, Tangier, Blue Murder and Aerosmith. This is a good release from The Answer but for me it's let down by a third of the album being ballads, Pick it up, skip a couple of tunes and you'll be sweet to see them live and have a great time, after-all the tunes your skipping are the ones most likely not to be seen live.