Scotland’s own Brian Robertson cemented his legacy as a guitarist in the 70s and 80s lending his talents to five Thin Lizzy and three Motorhead records. He was no latter day stand in; his guitar work defined the sound of Thin Lizzy’s iconic Jailbreak and Motorhead’s often overlooked masterpiece, No Remorse.
As the 90s became the 00s Robertson retreated from the limelight, appearing only sporadically as a special guest at concerts and at charity events. Then, in 2009, he returned to lead guitar duties. Not for the still touring Thin Lizzy or Motorhead but for little known Swedish pop rock outfit The Bitter Twins. It was a bizarre and unexpected return by the heralded guitarist and it paved the way for 2011’s Diamonds and Dirt.
This new record revels in nostalgia as Robertson not only indulges in the snaky melodic metal sounds of the late 70s and early 80s but also re-visits his own back catalogue. Offering reinterpretations of Lynott/Lizzy originals “It’s Only Money”, “Blues Boy”, and even offering two renditions of “Running Back”.
Unfortunately while the execution of these tracks is professional they fail to ignite in a meaningful way and Diamonds And Dirt becomes mired in retrospection. Some reflective moments work better than others; Robertson’s hard rock re-boot of Frankie Miller’s “Mail Box” is a carefree delight and the Robertson original “Diamonds And Dirt” is a master class in late seventies FM radio riffage.
Sadly, Robertson and his all-star cast of contributors fail to capture a sense of urgency, and while their proficiency is never in question, Diamonds And Dirt desperately lacks imagination.
There is a wonderful cosy-ness to the record, and if your in the market for some escapist thrills Diamonds And Dirt offers a plethora of slick solos and melodic hooks, but if your looking for something less transient and more substantial, you’d be better served looking elsewhere.
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