From contemplative ballads to soulful rock to sludgey blues, Rex Brown’s first solo outing displays a range of wider moods and styles than we’ve ever seen from him before.
Smoke on This is Brown finally stepping out of the shadows of others to lay bare his own rock n roll soul. ‘Train Song’ and ‘Lone Rider’ are a couple of smokey blues-infested heavy rockers that rollick along like the subject of the former, and ‘Crossing Lines’ is built on a huge riff that comes right out of the AC/DC playbook.
Being a solo album, Smoke on This is obviously a personal one, so tracks like ‘Fault Line’ and moody, slow-burning rocker ‘Best of Me’ are contemplative numbers that show a much different side of Brown’s character. ‘Buried Alive’ is a heartfelt ballad inspired by the death of Dimebag Darrell and his own battle with alcoholism and the struggle to find himself.
That Brown’s voice is dark and raspy is somehow unsurprising and its untrained quality lends a sense of genuine honesty to his singing. While there are faint glimmers of Floydian mystique and Beatlesque melody, Smoke on This is rooted in Southern rock and blues, coming across like a less self-indulgent Black Label Society outing where the focus is very much on the singer and the song in place of roaring solos and heavy grooves.
A deeply personal and meaningful record that verges on the spiritual at times, Smoke on This is a very welcome detour from his previous endeavours and may open a whole new audience for him.
1. Train Song
2. Lone Rider
3. Crossing Lines
4. Buried Alive
5. Get Yourself Alright
6. Fault Line
7. What Comes Around Goes Around
9. So Into You
10. Best of Me