In honor of Racer being bored with the look of the Ripple Effect and re-designing it, I decided I’m bored with my own writing habits. So going forward, once a month I’m going to pick something at random he’s sent me and then write about it. I intend to ignore any photos, biographical information, etc and write a review purely on the merits of the actual music. Pretty insane concept, eh?
My first victim in this experiment is Australia’s Van Cleef and their album Where The River Meets The Rock. Lucky for these guys I happen to like the albums Graham Bonnet made with Rainbow and the Michael Schenker Group. I have no idea if vocalist/keyboardist Mike Gordon is probably more influenced by Nick Cave but the shadow of Bonnet looms large over this album for me. Where The River Meets The Rock incorporates a lot of cool influences that are pretty much ignored in todays heavy rock scene – not just Rainbow, but also Blue Oyster Cult (Spectres/Mirrors era), 60’s Deep Purple and even some post-Lemmy Hawkwind.
“Barracuda Booty Boogie” has a nice speed limit rock feel to it and would sound great in the car on a ride to see April Wine and/or Pat Travers. The guitar chugs over some keyboard stabs and the rhythm section lays it down. We’re off to a good start! The next song “Gold” sounds like one of the Glenn Hughes songs from Stormbringer. There’s a definite Steely Dan influence and maybe even Suptertrampin’ going on around here. Things get a little sinister sounding on “Dalek Gulch.” If BOC ever did a song you could play in a strip club, this would be it.
Overall the entire album is very enjoyable. There aren’t any weak songs and Where The River Meets The Rock offers a lot of variety. For an Australian band they have a pretty North American sound but on “Gullible” there’s no mistaking the sound of a bunch of Ozzies who’ve gotten drunk listening to the Pink Fairies. The 11 song album wraps up with a nice 7 minute instrumental that combines equal parts of “Riders On The Storm” and Krautrock (including “Coast To Coast” by the fuckin Scorps!). I’m very stoked I took a chance on these guys.