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'Greetings From Bunezuela'
(Caroline International S&D)
Release Date: 24th June 2016

Joe Geesin

joe geesin

bun e carlos

Illinois born drummer Carlos is best known for his work with pop metal band Cheap Trick, a band he co-formed in 1973 and played with until 2010, although he is still technically a member of the band.

This new album is Carlos' first solo set and is a covers album, something he's always wanted to do.

And working along the A-side and B-side format, he's recorded two tracks with a number of guest vocalists including members of two other projects, Tinted Windows and Candy Golde, the former running alongside his time in Cheap Trick. Bun E Carlos is left handed, but is known to switch between left and right handed styles.

With Cheap Trick, their debut was released in the mid 70s, and albums 'In Color', 'Heaven Tonight' and 'Dream Police' and the live album 'At Budokan', are all essential listening. And there was a hit single or two along the way too. The band themselves have recorded several covers and have released a number of official bootlegs through the fan club, thanks to Carlos, the band's archivist.

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After a court case it was announced that Carlos is still a member of Cheap Trick but was not involved with their new album 'Bang Zoom Crazy Hello', released earlier in 2016, or its tour.

The album here kicks off with 'Do Something Real', a garage rock n' roll affair that has an alternative feel, stripped down and honest.

With John Stirratt on vocals, 'Armenia City In The Sky' follows. Proof that you don't need to go for obvious covers, this Speedy Keen track opened 'The Who's The Who Sell Out'. A wonderful track and equally good cover, there's both a rhythm n' blues and uplifting psychedelic hard rock feel and it's edgy and melodic.

With Hanson, 'Him Or Me' follows, another 60s throwback originally by Paul Revere and the Raiders. The sound and mix on the drums is appropriate, as is the guitar sound on the Blackstones' 'I Love You No More'.

The Rolling Stones' 'Tell Me' (Alejandro Escovedo on vocals) is a decent track but an odd choice as it's mid paced and lacks much of the blues of the band at the time. That said there's a good melody and the guitar work is good. Dylan's 'It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry' is upbeat and has some neat lead guitar solo, a solo Dylan would be proud of, while the rhythm nods to boogie and blues.

Another track given a hard edge is 'Idea', originally a 1968 Bee Gees album track.

'Count On Me', originally a 1989 single by Fra Lippo Lippi, is suitably New Wave but blends in with the album nicely. Some good vocal and guitar harmonies on the closer 'I Don't Mind' too.

This album is different as there is an element of pop rock as you'd expect from a Cheap Trick offshoot, the mix of flavours (often unexpected) is, in places, refreshing. It isn't a showcase for Carlos and it does show some influences as much as fun to be had.

Some good rock n' roll, but not quite in Cheap Trick's league.

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