Gary Moore

Scars

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After spending over a decade churning out electrified blues, Gary Moore partially returns to his hard rock beginnings in Scars. Reminiscent of '60s power trios such as Cream and especially the Jimi Hendrix Experience ("World of Confusion" is practically a rewrite of "Manic Depression" and "Ball and Chain" borrows the riff from "Voodoo Child"), Moore hasn't abandoned the blues, he's just pumped it up with blustery retro roots rock. With all the genre's limitations, the guitarist is so obviously inspired in this format that the album is a success on its own terms, even though it breaks little new ground. "Wasn't Born in Chicago" infuses jazzy drums and slight electronics to enhance the basic three-piece assault, resulting in the album's most unique and arguably best performance. Moore's pacing also helps as he softens his attack on ballads like "Just Can't Let You Go" and the closing "Who Knows (What Tomorrow May Bring)?" He effectively shifts from tender to tense to explosive in seconds and, even on the nearly 13-minute "Ball and Chain," keeps the listener involved through a combination of six-string talent, full-bodied vocals, and a sense of dynamics. Occupying a well-worn space with a potent fusion of blues power and hard rock, Scars shows Gary Moore comfortable in his skin. It's a rugged if not terribly original fusion that succeeds due to his talent, enthusiasm, and no-frills approach.

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