Glenn Hughes should be considered a national treasure, be it in the U.K. or the U.S. As a recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his contributions to the Mark III and IV eras of DEEP PURPLE, Hughes is one of the most resilient and dynamic rock performers of all time. TRAPEZE and a fling in BLACK SABBATH, "Seventh Star" period, being Hughes's more familiar stays, you may or may not have followed him recently through KINGS OF CHAOS along with the short-lived BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, the quasi-supergroup fortified with Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa and Derek Sherinian. Ditto for CALIFORNIA BREED, again with Bonham and featuring guitarist Andrew Watt.
The ever-hungry Glenn Hughes has dropped a slew of solo recordings spanning back to 1977's "Play Me Out". Now with his first solo venture since 2008's "First Underground Nuclear Kitchen", Hughes releases "Resonate", an unassuming and funky (if frequently heavy) slow-roller that will delight his fans. While stripped of much of Hughes's customary fireworks and pizzazz, "Resonate" yet entertains in stately fashion. At times, it's massive in an understated way—others, like Hughes never left DEEP PURPLE.
It's always a pleasure hearing this man sing, much less dropping bass quakes even Billy Sheehan might yield to. "Resonate" features contributions from the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS's Chad Smith on "Heavy" and "Long Time Gone". Smith, of course, is no stranger to collaboration with Hughes, having played on "Songs in the Key of Rock", "Music for the Divine", "Soul Mover" and "First Underground Nuclear Kitchen". Hughes's backing band this round consists of guitarist Soren Andersen, drummer Pontus Engborg and keyboardist Lachlan "Lachy" Doley.
Listeners who are appreciative of 2000's "Return of Crystal Karma" are going to enjoy "Resonate". It's similarly tailored with equal doses of hard funk and boom rock. While hardly as bombastic as 2003's "Songs in the Key of Rock", Glenn Hughes makes volume a priority on this album, even as the songs later settle into a sprawling freeform of funk and soul. How this cat missed a crack at cutting a single or two for Stax or Westbound is a bloody shame, but Glenn Hughes yet again makes his case on "Resonate".
"Heavy" delivers as promised, dropping some of Hughes's densest textures ever, planting riff bombs all over the choruses and yelping overtop Chad Smith's whumping rhythm. "Heavy" is both funky and thunderous, but "My Town" thereafter snarls more than it struts, which says a lot as the latter is a groove-pumping pleasure pill. Glenn Hughes doesn't need to reach his full vocal heights to make an impact, and as he gets older, it should be expected he'll scale back some. Yet, when he escalates those blessed pipes on "My Town", God Almighty, is there a finer set of chops in rock?
The only thing finer is his monstrous bass on the skulking "Flow", not a metal jam per se, but it's a crusher nonetheless. If a motorcycle could promenade at a quarter rev with full primp, that's what Hughes's bass sounds like on "Flow". The tempo maintains a crawl through "Let it Shine"—and later, "God of Money"—and the bass and guitars are fully compressed on the verses. Yet Hughes lets the organs free-float and take "Let It Shine" into Lenny Kravitz-staked (Jimi Hendrix and Prince before him) meadows of psych-funk. The bipolar tones commune agreeably with Glenn Hughes drawling then wailing into his phantasmagoric audile pasture.
The banged-out "Steady" rings like Hughes summoning a new Mark of DEEP PURPLE to arms, at least on the verses. Like "Let It Shine", the choruses skid and soothe sedatively. To play this thing live has to be its own head trip, as the song switches from hefty to lax tones, and the bass-guided progression employs its own diversity before the rackety solo section. "How Long" becomes more a question than a song title as Hughes and his band endlessly tear all over this sucker. If possible, this song grows even heavier than its predecessors with chunky funk riffs and deafening everything". Hughes and company reserving their full arsenal for this track. What "How Long" lacks in tempo is doubled in intensity and showmanship.
One might figure a song called "Landmines" would be up to the detonations of "How Long". Here is where "Resonate" calms down and Glenn Hughes lets his inner soul child take over. Its graceful glide steps peacefully into the jam-based RHCP-styled funk rock of "When I Fall". Other than manning beats behind his home base's new album, "The Getaway", how in the world was Chad Smith not lured to suck a kiss all over this one?
"Stumble & Go's" core melody rings a little too close to Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World", but that minor quibble aside, Glenn Hughes engineers another classy project with just enough sizzle to compensate its sluggish pace. Any excuse to hear Hughes perform is welcome, but when thrown down with such a give-a-damn wherewithal, "Resonate" does that and then some.