11/7/2009 - Review by: Maya Ahuja
Recorded and Produced by Kotzen himself and released under his own label Headroom Inc, 'Peace Sign' is a very welcome reprise in quite sometime, it being the first pure Kotzen release (non-live, non-Wilson Hawk) since 2007's 'Go Faster'. This album promises to be a brand new, fresh Kotzen offering...and that it is.
Opening with 'My Messiah' this groover of a track sets the mood from the outset for the album, Kotzen's powerful, soulful and intense vocals standing upfront straight away, and of course set superbly over that trademark guitar virtuosity. 'Long way from home' bleeds effortlessly into my personal favourite 'Paying Dues' that hears RK hollering out over the steady upbeat blues which leave plenty of room for first rate bass craziness to come through in its shiny glory over carearing percussion before giving way to an insane trademark Kotzen solo that blisters away back into the chorus before heading for one more lashing of pure face melting insanity.
The syncopated title track 'Peace Sign' enters; content in being carried along over a heavy, distorted bass line and fluid guitar this is a track that would make Hendrix proud; and it has to be said that it is easy to hear how this one will excite the audience in the live shows. This leads from the anthemic 70's infused 'Best of Times' to the funked-up 'We're All Famous', another track that wouldn't be out of place on a Stevie Wonder album with Kotzen's deep guitar that mirrors the bass line which makes it melt into the overall album with ease. 'You Got Me' is up next and it's clearly the time for Kotzen's awesome drummer to shine; uptight, varied make this one feel as precarious as coiled spring.
'Your Entertainer' is a darker brooding bass-ridden track smattered with overdriven funk based guitars that hears the persecuted calling out on the suppressor, 'I'm here to please, I'm Your Entertainer'. The acoustic based 'Catch Up To Me' is a heart felt ballad that builds constantly and falls into the upbeat, major 'Lie To Me' which oozes über cool in every beat of its pulse, pleading passionately through the vocal rendition and into the soaring guitar solo leaving the World behind.
'Larger Than Life' is another acoustic ballad of life and loves that lead's blissfully into the last track 'Holding On'. The closer is a moving ballad that saunters through its soulful waltzed simplicity that brings 'Peace Sign' to a restful and natural climax.
These are all deep, well-thoughtout tracks that are embroidered with Kotzen's own experiences that make the listener feel every part of his of his own personal story, from the powerful, rasping vocals through to the expressive and varied guitar work. 'Peace Sign' is a triumph of old skool R&B, soul, blues and true rock n' roll spirit, just the way it should be done.
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