Reviews:Review by : Cameron Prior, Rock AAA and Guardian Angel Management
La Paz may not be running around in skinny jeans and tight t-shirts anymore but a run through their album ‘Granite’ will have many of us of a certain age remembering the imperious days of the late 70’s and early 80’s with more than a frisson of re-energised nostalgia.
Fronted by Dougie White of Rainbow/Malmsteen/Tank fame, La Paz pack a mighty punch to back up his soaring classic rock voice.
Album opener ‘Too Good To Lose’ busts to life with a flurry of atmospherics before settling in to a hook laden, damned catchy, chunk of classic rock. Reminiscent of White’s Rainbow roots with a little Winger thrown in for good measure the track fairly romps along and wouldn’t be out of place on any number of American road trip movie soundtracks.
‘This Boy’ sounds more like Foreigner than Foreigner do these days – not the crumpled old revivalist version, but the platinum coated version which gave us ‘Feels Like The First Time.’ Another feel-good, radio friendly, chorus will have you singing along in no time, if you can put your air guitar down long enough as guitarist, Chic McSherry fires out lick after slick lick. I dare you not to tap your feet.
‘Lesson in Love’ talks much tougher with its opening guitar bombast and chunky chord progression. White dons the cloak of Dio and it fits like a glove as he soars and swoops over the music like our dearly departed Lord of Metal.
Tear soaked ballad ‘Amy’ threatens to bring the party to a grinding halt and seems to veer off into a cul-de-sac with it’s slightly ponderous melody, however it provides only a brief respite as ‘Just for Today’ lifts the mood again with McSherry’s deft fretwork and a rollicking chorus.
‘What Do You Say’ continues the momentum and gives White a platform to show off his formidable vocal range and ‘Still in Love’ is as good as anything produced by AOR masters FM before ‘Young and Restless’ bears it’s teeth and ups the tempo showing La Paz have a grittier side to their shiny coated façade.
‘Shame the Devil’ brings the album to a close, with La Paz perhaps saving the best for last. As crickets shrill and thunder rolls over beautifully picked Spanish guitar we are transported into the highlands of the Andes. The eerie chants of hooded monks and the lonesome calls of unseen birds are shattered as White once again enters the world of Dio’s Heaven & Hell – why the hell Dio’s Disciples turned to Toby Jepson when Dougie White could wipe the floor with him is a mystery. The song builds into a seething shred fest and the album truly hits its peak during the finale.
It would be easy to say that La Paz are riding on the back of their front man, and it would also be easy to dismiss the whole record as a flashback in time but it would also be totally wrong.
La Paz may not have hit the jackpot in the eighties, but today they’ve built an album on solid foundations of ‘Granite’ which stands up to anything from Journey, Foreigner, Skin or other more ‘vaunted’ bands of the genre.
Let’s hope they turn up on the festival circuit next summer as they’ll kick the ass of many a band higher on the bill.
Review by : Pyotr Spyra, Rock Area (Original in Polish and translated)
It seemed to me when Doogie White released his solo album that he could be an artist teetering on the brink of tiring out his fans. Anyway, despite that, the record was good, solid, and sometimes had flashes of genius ... Earlier (not that long ago anyway) the singer debuted with TANK, and even made a guest appearance in Raven. So I admit that the news of "GRANITE" and the reformation of his first band La Paz made me a little worried. Do you not sometimes worry about his voice, and worse, worry that he runs out of musical ideas for his projects?
So I reached for GRANITE with some hopes, but with considerable apprehension.
My reaction to the first riff was very enthusiastic. I could not sit still! For God's sake - at one point I even danced!
I will say with all honesty that from the time Doogie White first appeared on the Rainbow album - this is definitely the best material with him behind the microphone. If it hadn’t been icy outside that day then I would have got on motorbike, or even grew a beard in a hurry (a long one- like the guys from ZZ Top)!
Just an incredible energy – the pure joy of playing hard rock - and this time, oriented more to guitar playing with the keys more in the background. This creates the impression of being into the music and keeps you more in the spirit of the Rainbow than Purple - and this is definitely a nice change.
Nine compositions are included on the disc, sometimes they are predictable, but even during the first listen I was able to sing more than one hook ... it turns out that this formula works.
The power of simplicity.
As often happens in rock music, some of the song subjects tend to be somewhat trivial, but they also seem to be incredibly honest!
"Granite" is an album that contains nine potential hits and it is difficult to point to my favourite. Perhaps my innate love for the slightly more complex forms will not let me leave without comment on the last song, “Shame The Devil”. It's unbelievable how quickly time passes on the nearly 10-minute song! Listen to it loud. The song should be the radio single - it is amazing in its assertiveness and defines the rest of the album.
When you get to the end you will want to hit "repeat" on the player.
And yes, "Stranger in Us All," it is not ... but "Granite" makes my yearning for that album fade somewhat.