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Jack Russell’s Great White - He Saw it Comin'

Label: Frontiers
Format: CD
Released: 2017
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 7.5/ 10

Yup, that’s right - two Great White camps – Jack Russell’s with the classic lineup’s alum Tony Montana (guitar, keyboards) joining Jack, with Mark Kendall, Michael Lardie, and Audie Desbrow in the other with Terry Ilous (Ex-XYZ) singing. So, how it is to have the voice of Great White back making new music without Kendall’s riffs and Lardie’s melodies and harmonies? Well, Russell’s health has bounced back and his voice sounds really good, no different from how he always has, retaining the tone and texture. Opening track ‘Sign Of The Times’ is classic “...Twice Shy”/ Hooked”/ “Psycho City” Great White. Memorable catchy guitars, melodies, harmonies, flow, etc. ‘She Moves Me’ also is classic Great White as a bluesy laid back rocker with the bass taking center stage.


‘Crazy’ isn’t bad, another slower bluesy rocker, keyboard based ‘Love Don’t Live Here’, to a little effects on the guitar/slide ‘My Addition’ all combine what you’d expect. The title track brings in the trademark piano and guitar for what could potentially be a great “hard” rocker. I put “hard” in quotes because that’s the edge Great White use to have many many years ago. Still, Jack and his bandmates did an excellent job channeling Queen in the arrangement with those vocal harmonies, piano and composition changes. That, I surely didn’t see coming (yes, pun intended). A reggae guitar ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ is a new additive to GW’s history (even though gem “Sail Away” acoustic album dabbled in instrumentation). So, this I did, and didn’t see coming.
So, with all that, I kinda “saw it comin’ that the sum of the parts and chemistry from the classic lineup are better together than apart. As a fan (1984-1999ish) who bought the self titled first album, “On Your Knees” E.P., etc on vinyl, as I said earlier - I was hoping Jack would have brought back the harder guitars from 84-96. Like the other lineup/version of Great White, the guitars and punch is deflated with no edge. “He Saw It Comin’” is solid statement in songwriting and musicianship, 5 tunes I will listen to again. But for myself, out of eleven songs it’s too middle aged Bon Jovi post “Keep The Faith” safe “rock”.

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