As one of the most recognisable figures in music history (let alone just rock) and a figurehead and member of a couple of massive bands that you may have heard about, guitarist Slash hardly needs any introduction by now. Similarly, whilst not on the same level of notoriety outside of rock circles, Myles Kennedy and his main band Alter Bridge are on a commercial climb and are a certified arena-level band by now, whilst he has also found time to write and tour a solo album this year.
In summary, they are a busy pair; and yet interestingly their collaborative project with the outfit dubbed as The Conspirators is still a prominent concern for them both, morphing from a Slash solo project which the band members and Kennedy featured to a fully fledged band in its own right. The project certainly found its feet when its line-up solidified, with a couple of very solid and fun rock albums in Apocalyptic Love and World On Fire. In comparison to both of those (and of course Slash’s previous work), though, latest album Living The Dream (Snakebite Records/Roadrunner) sees a drop in quality. The foundation set by their previous efforts of bluesy Rock remains intact here, as is to be expected, however, overall it just seems to be missing that urgency and edge that their previous albums have given and lacks any true highlight or anthem that sticks with you once it’s finished.
Living The Dream is certainly a pleasurable enough listen and gives the diversity you would expect, from the bouncy ‘Read Between The Lines’, the mid-paced ‘Lost Inside The Girl’ and obligatory ballad ‘The One You Loved Is Gone’, but there is that unshakeable feeling that this is Slash’s weakest material, where even his guitar work doesn’t give a lasting impact. In fact, the key performance overall is that of Kennedy, who has previously shown his adaptability between bands and feels more comfortable with pure blues Hard Rock more so than ever on Living The Dream; able to switch seamlessly between swagger and tenderness when required.
It is hard to separate this album from Slash’s previous, iconic works and of course it shouldn’t sit in those shadows when it is pulling off a different style, but even in the boundaries of his own solo works Living The Dream feels distinctly weaker. Once again, it must be stressed that this isn’t a bad album by any means and will prove a decent, easy listening rock record and serviceable festival fodder; but it lacks the substance and lasting impact that this band has pulled off before plenty of times already.