I came across this one completely by accident. One day, I was just surfing the web
and was wondering what happened to some of the artists I had worked with “back in the day.” I found myself typing names like King Diamond, SLAUGHTER, and TYKETTO into my search engine but a funny thing happened when I typed in the name Roger Fisher. Formerly of HEART and ALIAS, Fisher has always been one of my favorite guitarists so I was very excited to find out about his latest project… a band called CLEVER BASTARDS.
Together again with long time cohort Mike Derosier (HEART, ALIAS) on percussion, CLEVER BASTARDS are composed of a group of very talented musicians, which also include Rick Knotts (RAIL) on backing vocals, guitar and baritone guitar, bassist Lynn Sorenson (Paul Rodgers) and vocalist Mike Curley who has gained international fame as the host and producer of a weekly acoustic session show called LiveInTheLounge on Insomnia Radio.
The first thing you notice after popping in the bands debut CD “The Great Unconformity” into your player is Curley’s vocal stylings, which can only be described as a cross between Bon Scott (AC/DC) and Brandin Lea (FLICKERSTICK) with just
a “touch” of James Blunt. A “slight” English accent is very apparent but it’s his strong and raspy intonations that really help carry this CD along.
The thing I really like about “The Great Unconformity” is its unique blend and mixture
of numerous different styles of music. You can hear hints and sometimes very obvious influences ranging from rock and country to soul, funk and even metal! As I said, I do like the blend but it does sometimes disrupt the flow of the CD itself from time to time.
And another interesting point to note is the very raw sound of the entire disc. While the
production itself is very well done, the production “value” appears a little low at times giving “The Great Unconformity” an almost “studio” feel to it with the percussion sometimes seeming to echo off into the background.
“Big City” is one of my favorite tracks off the CD. It’s a slower, more emotional song… almost sad but Fisher really goes off delivering some of his best guitar work on the release. It almost has that old DIRE STRAITS/ Mark Knopfler guitar sound to it… as does “Shadows of Brook Lane” which features a nice blend of electric and acoustic guitar.
“Never Too Late” is a guitar-driven rocker. Definitely the heaviest track on the CD, it’s power-chords and solo almost reminds me of a very young AC/DC song. “Heaven To Me” is a smooth, beautifully arranged ballad which sounds a bit like FLICKERSTICK in its composure while “Ghosts” starts off almost in the same, smooth vein but builds into
another nice rocker with some really harsh and heavy guitar riffs.
Some other tracks of note include “Hold For Me,” which features some incredible mandolin playing… compliments of Mr. Fisher,” “Only Human,” which has an intro
eerily reminiscent of “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood but then kicks in with some nice, muffled chords and a melodic chorus comparable to something off of Dokken’s
“One Live Night,” and the very impressive opening track “All We’ve Ever Asked For.”
“The Great Unconformity” is a very good debut release. Guitar connoisseurs and fans of bands like FLICKERSTICK, REDLIGHTMUSIC or even classic rock in general should embrace this release. However, as I mentioned before, although I like the contrast
in the differing musical styles, it may be just a “little” too much at times for the average listener or those who can’t acquire a taste for the blend. Good job, though, guys! And I hope to hear more from CLEVER BASTARDS in the future and don’t forget to check out their website for CD ordering information.
- Mike Curley - Lead Vocals, guitar
- Roger Fisher - Guitars, backing vocals, mandolin
- Lynn Sorensen - Bass, backing vocals
- Mike Derosier - Drums, percussion
- Rick Knotts - Guitar, baritone guitar, backing vocals
- All We’ve Ever Asked For
- Hold For Me
- Play Away
- Shadows Of Brook Lane
- Master Of My Day
- I’m In You
- Only Human
- Never Too Later
- Heaven To Me
- Big City