Well, this is a real oddity. As most of you probably don’t know, Pushking is one of Russia’s premier rock bands. They’ve been churning out ’80s styled melodic hard rock since 1994, but only ventured into the English language world a couple of years back. But now they’ve decided to go for broke on their first international release, and have brought along what is, quite possibly, the starriest collection of rockers ever assembled on one record.
The basic tracks were recorded at Matt Filippini’s (Moonstone Project) studio in Italy, while various guests do their bits mostly in studios around Los Angeles. The record was produced by Italian born producer Fabrizio Grossi, who was instrumental in bringing this record to life, so I reckon they’ve got access to Grossi and Filippini’s respective phonebooks. After all, Moonstone Project have had their fair share of big name guests and Grossi has worked in the studio with the likes of Glenn Hughes, Steve Lukather, Slash, Neal Schon, Pat Travers, Carmine Appice and many others.
Which means this record sees the appearance of Glenn Hughes, Joe Lynn Turner, Graham Bonnet, John Lawton, Dan McCafferty, Steve Lukather, Jeff Scott Soto, Alice Cooper, Joe Bonamassa, Jorn Lande, Steve Vai, Billy Gibbons and Paul Stanley amongst many more well known faces. Now that’s very often a recipe for disaster, but the record actually hangs together very well. It’s still basically ’80s hard rock, but with a fine selection of songs and some excellent musical performances, the guest add lustre, rather than distract.
After a brief intro, things get underway with “Nightrider” featuring Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top on vocals and guitar. It’s actually a bit of false start, as Gibbons sound is so distinctive, it ends up sounding more like ZZ Top than I think was intended. It’s actually song three, “Troubled Love”, with Alice Cooper on vocals alongside his guitarist Keri Kelli where things really get underway. It’s a really commercial track that would have done very well, back in the day, along with “Cut The Wire”, which has Kiss man Paul Stanley on vocals.
Ex Rainbow/MSG singer Graham Bonnet makes a fair go of “God Made Us Free”, but it pales when it’s immediately followed by two fabulous vocals, one from Glenn Hughes on “Why Don’t You?” and one from Jeff Scott Soto on “I Believe”. Two of the best vocalists around in excellent form. Hughes returns with Black Country Communion compadre Joe Bonamassa on the slow burning “Tonight”, and rounds off an excellent trio of songs with “Private Own”.
There are still a few gems to come, with Dan McCafferty taking time out from Nazareth to put on a barnstorming vocal on “I Love You” and an even better one of the best of the power ballads, “My Simple Song”. But if you’re looking for rock, then you’ll want to check out Jorn Lande on “Heroin” and Joe Lynn Turner on “Head Shooter”, both of which are chock full of quality riffing. Things finish up with a vocal party on “Kukarracha”, which sees Joe Lynn Turner, Eric Martin, Glenn Hughes, Paul Stanley and Graham Bonnet all sharing the microphone. Well, not literally, but you can always fantasise.
It’s an absolute blast of an album for fans of ’70s and ’80s hard rock, and one that really should be investigated.