Chris Cornell - Carry On

what the hell possessed him to go near Billie Jean I'll never know?

 

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Chris Cornell, he of great voice and ridiculously good looks for a former member of the grunge community is here to sell his new wares. This time it's another of his solo attempts and it's called Carry On, which I'm sure is meant to be deep and meaningful, but I'm afraid I just want to add Up Seattle (or something a bit cruder) on to the end of it. But hey! Guess what? It's not half bad. The cover's a pile of shite though. Look at him. Gormless. Looks like a bloody cologne advert. His previous solo album Euphoria Morning's cover shot wasn't much better, it has to be said, but at least it had a bright solar flare covering part of his face, showing at least some attempt to be artistic. Still, you can't have everything.

 

What you can have is some half decent rock tunes. The first half of Carry On is excellent, for the most part. Opener No Such Thing begins in Stone Temple Pilot territory before veering off into something more interesting, thankfully. Poison Eye is pretty good, although the aimless, noodling guitar solo stops it from being great. I'm not entirely sure about the lyrics to She'll Never Be Your Man, but it's a thumping rock tune. Safe and Sound and Ghosts are the standout tracks. Sadly, somewhere around the half way point the train veers off the tracks somewhat.

 

Killing Birds is a bit of a mess. It feels like a demo. It has some nice little elements to it, but they don't seem to hang together very well and what the hell possessed him to go near Billie Jean I'll never know? It's the type of cover that would probably work quite well as a little joke on stage, but it feels completely out of place here. If I'm totally honest I'd probably class it as a pretty decent cover, and it is interesting to begin with, but it feels like a B-side and it goes on FOREVER!!!!

 

The album never fully recovers from that, Scar On The Sky suffering most, simply from being placed right next to it. Well, that and another aimless guitar solo. Your Soul Today ups the tempo a little but is too slight to be truly memorable. It also gets points taken off for the line, "Can I visit your arms? Can I visit your legs?" Finally Forever is better, and Silence the Voices is great, even if it does take an age to get going. Elsewhere things are ok, even You Know My Name, the Bond theme for Casino Royale will start to grow on you eventually. It's amazing how much his voice can make a song sound better than it probably should be.

 

As a whole, Carry On is a bit mellower than most of previous output but then again he is over 40 now, so I suppose he had to mellow at some point. The guitars still crunch, just not as much. The edge has been smoothed out a little, but if you're a fan of any of his previous work then you'll find plenty to like here. It's better than Audioslave at any rate. Carry On is, while not quite a return to Superunknown form, a genuine surprise.

 

Words : Damian Leslie