Cheap Wine “Stay Alive”
This double album is Cheap Wine’s first official live release adding to their canon of seven previous albums during their 16 or so years together.
Although they’re an all Italian band, all songs are sung in English, and they sound like they’ve emerged from the plains of the mid West. Whilst they’re a rock band in the traditional sense, with vocals, guitars, drums, bass and keyboards, they convey a sense of artistic style that makes them stand out from the plethora of artists peddling their wares.
Containing over two hours of music and 21 songs taken from their back catalogue and of which 19 were written by the main protagonists, the Diamantini brothers, this album covers a wider gamut that takes their music out of the expected rock spectrum and veers them on occasions into Americana territory. Obviously influenced by Springsteen and Neil Young, who have ‘Youngstown’ and ‘Rocking In The Free World’ covered respectively, Cheap Wine don’t rest on the same old tired clichés so many other bands rely on. ‘Among The Stones’ introduces some dobro, which adds to what would have been otherwise a fairly routine song; the interplay with the instrument and the lead vocals brings it to life. ‘Evil Ghost’ rocks like its life depends on it, with some excellent searing lead guitar, after a tranquil start.
This seems to be Cheap Wine’s modus operandi, starting quietly and peacefully, with a penchant for ballads, which and build into arena rockers. They give ‘Youngstown’ a run for its money and have managed to outrock even Springsteen. Proving that they’re not wedded to their modus operandi, ‘Reckless’ kicks off loud and proud, and doesn’t give any quarter as it rampages through the set list. Following in quick succession, ‘Time For Action’ continues in the same vein, whereas ‘Snakes’ brings back more shade, without losing the rawk! I’m at a loss as to why I hadn’t heard of these guys until now, but I’m off to check out their back catalogue. You’d be wise to do so too.