REVIEW: THE WINERY DOGS – “Hot Streak”
Ever since their inception, The Winery Dogs, comprising of ace musicians Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy, have delivered superlative music laden with creativity as evident in their self-titled debut record released in 2013. This has carried on to their new album ‘Hot Streak’, which is absolutely infectious!
The opening track and the first single off of ‘Hot Streak’ is “Oblivion”. This song establishes great energy for the rest of the album with amazing guitar work and power-packed drumming. The next track “Captain Love” is quite a catchy one, with a remarkably awesome groove. The song has a good dash of funk essence and adds variety to itself with a nice “funk-shred” solo and well thought-out hooks.
The funky vibe continues in the title track, which also has a high-spirited, catchy groove and a brilliant guitar tone. The blend of the vocals and the guitar tone on this song adds to the wonderful impact set by it. “How Long” and “The Bridge” showcase the strong rhythm sections executed by Billy and Mike. The neat rhythmic foundation in both the songs is awe-inspiring. While the former has a really memorable chorus, the unique lyrical rhythm in the latter stands out beautifully.
‘Hot Streak’ features a good deal of variety and is capable of being enjoyed by all kinds of listeners. It features a ballad called “Fire”, which despite having quite laid-back rhythmic parts, is very impactful especially due to the amazing vocals and vocal harmonies. One of the best songs on the album is “Empire”, which has a unique vibe to itself set by rare elements like Kotzen’s slide solo. “Ghost Town” also features a slide solo by Kotzen and is a refreshing track as it raises the tempo after the ballad-y “Fire”. The vocals seem to be boosted with some effects on this one, but it works completely fine.
“Spiral” is the boldest song on this record and features galloping bass laced around unique drumming, while “War Machine” probably has the most interesting and thought-provoking lyrics on the album. The musical prowess of each member of the band is upheld wonderfully in “Devil You Know” while the R&B inspired instrumentation flourishes in the piano-laden “Think It Over”. “The Lamb” incorporates a bit of experimentation with sounds and provides a perfect finish to ‘Hot Streak’. The album also features brilliant mixing, which highlights or blends the elements at just the perfect places.
In a nutshell, listening to ‘Hot Streak’ is an enjoyable experience, since the record does not go over the top despite being musically adventurous. This is one album which features different kinds of songs – ones that are instantly likeable, and ones in which the creative details are noticeable after a couple of listens.