Back in 2013, Richie Sambora met Orianthi and sparks flew, apparently. The two are an item and now they are putting out music for the masses and it is about time. I had heard back last year, I believe, that they were working together and going to put out an album. Well, we finally got one; however, it is only an E.P. with only 5 songs. Now, I am not greedy, but I would have preferred a whole album.
Now when I heard we were getting music from the two, I was excited. I love Richie’s vocals and his bluesy, rock style plus he can play the guitar (have you heard of Bon Jovi). Orianthi is also one helluva a guitar player herself and she can sing with the best of them. She has played for Michael Jackson and for Alice Cooper as well as her own solo work. The two together, I was expecting a bluesy rock album with some amazing guitar work.
What I was expecting and what we actually have are not quite the same thing. Apparently, the two of them wanted to deliver an album that was not what people expected. They wanted to give something that shows that they can do something more than play guitar. Message received loud and clear.
We do get a little rock on some songs, some good guitar (when I say some I mean very little), one bluesy track and then some pop nonsense. Did I like the album when I first heard it…simply…NO!! It was not what I expected so it was a major disappointment. That isn’t to say I don’t like it now. I have spent a lot of time with it which is simple as it is only 5 tracks. I could listen to it twice each way to and from work. I kept it playing it for several days to see if it would grow on me and it did, eventually. It doesn’t mean I love it by any means. I just like it.
The first song “Rise” is what I was expecting. It was heavy on the guitar and sounded exactly like any Orianthi song. The two sing together and were definitely going for an aggressive rock anthem. The sound on the vocals is a little muddied, but still sounds good overall so I was a little disappointed on the production value. I feel like they are actually trying too hard on this one.
“Masterpiece” is a love ballad with piano accompaniment and a what sounds like a drum machine (I hate drum machines on so called rock albums). On this one they share singing duties again, but take turns rather than singing at the same time. The song is one of those that you can see the beauty behind it, but they don’t quite capture that magic they were going for. There is a little guitar solo in it, one of the very few. They both do sound better on this one vocally. I do like it and my second favorite song on the album, but I feel it could have been so much more.
The third song is “Truth” has more piano and another love song with a slowed tempo. Orianthi and Richie do sing in unison but Orianthi is more prevalent. Richie’s accompaniment is relegated to a backing vocals mostly used to add texture which he did so well on Bon Jovi.
“Take Me” is the bluesy track I was looking for just not very rocked out. Richie does the vocals on this and no Orianthi anywhere except instrumentally. Some acoustic guitar but no electric. They are really shying away from the rock guitar sound. Richie sounds great and what I would expect from him based on his solo work. Great song!
The last song is “Good Times” which is probably the worst song on the album. It is a complete mess. I am not sure how to describe it. It is pop with a country twang and it makes me sick to hear these two talents do something like this. Another one where I feel they are trying too hard to be something they are not. What I thought might be Richie doing a little rap with some effects on his voice was actually K-OS, a rapper from Canada. I think I liked it better thinking it was Richie.
I am not going to score it as Keeper or Delete as I normally do because there are just too few songs. So I will just score it out of 5 stars.
2.5 out of 5 Stars. It is a great effort, but it is missing the mark. There is so much potential in the songs, but they just can’t find the magic. As I said earlier, it seems forced like they are trying too hard. Maybe they will get better over time and working more together, but right now I don’t feel the chemistry between the two. Plus, MORE GUITAR!! I get you wanted to show us another side, but I don’t want to see that side again. MORE GUITAR!! Stay in your wheelhouse. Experiment, but keep in the area where you are exceptional already.
(picture from their Facebook page)