When guitar god Saul "Slash" Hudson released his self-titled solo debut in 2010, critics and fans alike bemoaned the lack of a charismatic vocalist to back up those slithery licks.
After all, the infamously top-hatted hairball, 46, had previously been paired with two of the most flamboyant, and confounding, lead wailers in rock: Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose and Velvet Revolver's Scott Weiland.
But now it appears Slash has finally found the right musical mate. Current mouthpiece Myles Kennedy, of Orlando's Alter Bridge, is a hot commodity after the operatic howler gamely filled in for an absent Axl last month when the Gunners were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As a result, Slash's new album, Apocalyptic Love, featuring Kennedy's elastic overwrought vocals, is being greeted with an extra dose of grunty excitement. Apocalyptic Love is definitely GNR-esque, from the Paradise City echoes of the title track to the prickly, exploding You're a Lie. Slash's solos are ubiquitous and warmly familiar, and Kennedy now sounds more like Axl than Axl does.
Diehard fans should seek out the bonus cut Carolina on iTunes; Slash puts a tremendous wah-wah effect on his ax, like Peter Frampton busting out of prison.
Re-creating the dangerous, sexy allure of GNR or even Velvet Revolver is probably impossible at this point, but for a leathery boot-kick of West Hollywood rock, Slash's new one gets the dirty job done.
Sean Daly, Times pop music critic
Slash, Apocalyptic Love (Dik Hayd)