What We Can't Have

Colin Reid

Independent release, 2013


REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Once upon a time in the land of California, a younger man by my same name was big into melodic hard rock bands like Montrose and Scorpions, groups that featured muscled-up guitars delivering catchy riffs and singalong choruses. Today I look to groups like Jet or maybe Chickenfoot for this kind of big sound. Colin Reid seems to have absorbed a lot of the same history, while adding his own twist on it, giving his powerful, guitar-heavy tunes a bit of a sun-splashed Southern California feel.

The singer-songwriter-guitarist opts for the pure power-trio format here, just himself on guitars and a rhythm section of Maurice Verloop (bass) and Dan Welby (drums). For the first three songs of this 11-track debut, his focus is more on melody than muscle; “Another Way” and “Fall Away” in particular feature strong hooks and choruses that stick in your head. The lyrics are solid, too, with the former offering pointed commentary on a breakup (“Someone’s got to be the one who stays”) and the latter delivering a rather Zen message about acceptance (“Let your anger / Fall away”).my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

These tracks alternate with the heavier “So You Say,” its slicing notes building to a nice release at the chorus, and “Fair Weather Saint,” a tight, propulsive number that should set heads a-banging. The former also features an honest-to-god guitar solo, laser-precise enough to remind of Tom Petty’s main man Mike Campbell.

The rest of this ride leans to the heavy side of Reid’s sound while showing some versatility. “No Good Reason” is bluesy and playful; the hyperactive “Never The Same” starts with a long intro/jam; and “Head Down” has almost a Bon Jovi feel to it, metal with the sharp edges sanded off. In between, the title track offers another Zen-influenced lyric about wanting things you can’t have, this time set to relatively mellow guitars.

The one place where Reid still seems to be finding himself is on his vocals. A lot of the time here, he goes with a hard rock growl with some grit to it. This works fine on the heavier songs, but interestingly, he’s even better when he dials it back to sing in a smoother voice, as on “Fall Away,” the title track, and the closing ballad “You’ll Know.” Is there a happy medium in there somewhere? Probably.

Colin Reid has the chops to be a genuine triple threat as a singer-songwriter-guitarist, and great instincts for rock that’s both heavy and melodic. Here’s hoping that What We Can’t Have is only the beginning.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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