Black Country Communion split in 2013 after only four years, in part because of guitarist Joe Bonamassa's tight schedule and the demanding commitments of his solo career. Vocalist and bassist Glenn Hughes and drummer Jason Bonham decided they had too much of a good thing and founded California Breed with 23-year-old guitarist/vocalist Andrew Watt. Produced by Dave Cobb, the material is, as expected, blues-based hard rock, and its sound draws on inspirations from Led Zeppelin (check Watt's inversion of the "Heartbreaker" riff in opener "The Way"), AC/DC ("Sweet Tea"), early Whitesnake ("Midnight Oil"), and even Alice in Chains ("The Grey"), but California Breed combine and recombine styles in a manner that is consistently their own. While Bonham's drums are as dominant as Hughes' voice, the interplay between the latter's basslines and Watt's wide-ranging guitar technique is a true highlight. He plays loads of solos on the set, but they are short and focused, and unabashedly reveal his influences from Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Cantrell, but precision and fluidity come down the line from Jeff Beck (check "Invisible" and "Scars"). Fans of hard rock may justifiably lament the loss of Country Black Communion, but the blues-based squall of California Breed from their self-titled debut is no small consolation.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek