Summer Delight

Stratosphere WP“I have such a fierce joy about playing,” said Lemmy to Matt Sorum, who was sitting in for Mikkey Dee. The phrase stuck with Sorum, so he gave Lemmy a call asking to use it.

Lemmy Kilmister is only one of many influences on Stratosphere: Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, The Beatles, 70’s Genesis and Tom Petty and all be heard on this Sorum penned record.

Matt Sorum made his name as drummer with Guns ‘n’ Roses, but he’s also delivered heavy hitting for Tori Amos, The Cult and Velvet Revolver. His second solo record, under the name of Matt Sorum’s Fierce Joy, is Stratosphere, and one he hopes will alter any preconceived ideas of his heavy rock persona.

The Sea has the country rock Americana feel of the Eagles and Flying Burrito Brothers; warm, orange sun shining on an open top car gliding over a coast hugging road. A gentle introduction from a musician more often found in hard rock bands.

It’s perfect opener, one which will intrigue many listeners to hear what Sorum wrote on his acoustic while off in the desert at Joshua Tree. This personal view from a more balanced and aware Sorum gives Stratosphere a reflective feel.

What Ziggy Says has backing horns from the more psychedelic leanings of the Fab Four, while For The Wild Ones has a dirty baseline under a euphoric 80’s synth riff and a snarling vocal, suggesting Sorum is not simply heading down a hard and loud path.

As a producer and writer, as well as a seasoned rock drummer, Sorum has sonically sculpted many ideas and expanded on what the public may have expected, which adds to the positivity surrounding a solid record.

Ian Astbury from The Cult commented on Sorum’s behaviour in the studio in 2001, “We wanted to make the album quickly, but Matt’s theatrical drumming took time to perfect in the studio.” The time taken paid off as The Cult returned with a hard hitting modern rock classic in Beyond Good and Evil.

A wonderful tinkling guitar with soft hammond backed with shuffling percussion evoke a Pacific island beach scene. His earthy vocal runs with the odd deeper guitar twang throughout the glorious Goodbye To You as a delicate slide guitar soars over the middle eight.

Matt S WPA pair of heart felt, meditative offerings lead to Ode to Nick Drake, a quaint acoustic number with some quirky lyrics. Ears prick up at such a song but it does begin a change of vibe. It’s his versatility here which brings the listener back in to a record which could have started to meander into dull predictability.

Rather surprisingly, a song called Blue restores the tempo and the sunshine with bouncy keys and echoes of early 90’s indie rock.

A delicate song to his centurion grandmother, Josephine, is soft and unfussy with appropriate strings and piano, evidence of a musical director getting his message across and letting the talent mould it to create fine results.

There’s plenty of orchestration on the record, and Land Of The Pure gets the best of such arrangements, this time with an Eastern flavour and rhythmic drumming.

The hammond returns with psychedelic eeriness for Killers N Lovers, a hint of Lou Reed vocal leads to a Pink Floyd finale.

Sorum has managed the same as many of the Guns ’n’ Roses alumni, he’s created a record of superior merit than his ex-lead singer. He’s stepped away from hard rock and stood tall with a diverse scope of sounds. His experience of arranging within the G’n’R and songwriting with Velvet Revolver allow him to flex his experienced musical muscle with joyful confidence.

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Comments
One Response to “Summer Delight”
  1. Angharad Sanders says:

    Just went back through the pj page to find this pic again only to realise wrong g n r member! Oh well a good excuse to send a mike McCready pic

    William says he is also supporting the Netherlands because that’s where pirates come from…….. Sent from my iPad

    >

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