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Grand Slam “Wheel of Fortune” Album Review by Jorge Pozo

grand slam band

Few acts carry as rich a legacy while still pushing forward with fresh and invigorating material as GRAND SLAM does on their latest offering, “Wheel of Fortune.” Under the aegis of Laurence Archer and Mike Dyer, this outfit embarks on a musical odyssey that bridges the gap between the cherished past and a boundless future. Mining the depths of their collective experience, the band crafts a record that resonates with both old fans and newcomers.

From the get-go, “There Goes My Heart” sets a high bar. Contrary to the expectations one might have from its title, the track is an upbeat homage not to lost love, but to a cherished car, showcasing GRAND SLAM‘s knack for storytelling with a side of humor. “Star Crossed Lovers” and “Come Together (In Harlem)” add layers to the album’s sound, incorporating elements that feel simultaneously nostalgic and fresh. It’s worth noting “Come Together (In Harlem)” for its evolution from a poppier past to a hard-hitting rocker, carried with aplomb by Dyer‘s versatile vocals.

The album’s midsection sees “Trail of Tears” and “Feeling is Strong” weaving intricate guitar work with evocative lyrics. Archer‘s prowess on the guitar is evident, delivering solos that are both intricate and emotionally charged. The narrative depth continues with “Pirate Song,” which might just be the standout track of the collection. Its narrative complexity and musical dynamism—echoing greats like Queen and Extreme—showcase GRAGND SLAM‘s ability to transcend their influences and craft songs that are undeniably their own.

However, while “Wheel of Fortune” excels in its exploration and reinterpretation of rock’s storied past, it occasionally struggles with cohesion. The contrast between the raw energy of “Spitfire” and the reflective solemnity of “Afterlife” can be jarring, though each track shines on its own merits.

The album closes with its namesake, “Wheel of Fortune,” a nuanced ballad that encapsulates the album’s theme of reminiscence and revival. The track is a showcase for Dyer‘s lyrical creativity, weaving catchphrases of yesteryears’ quiz shows into a narrative that’s both whimsical and poignant.

In summary, “Wheel of Fortune” by GRAND SLAM is a work that stands as a testament to the band’s undiminished vibrancy and creativity. It is an album that respects its roots while daring to dream about the future. However, its eclectic mix, while often a source of strength, sometimes detracts from the album’s overall unity.

For fans who have followed the lineage from Phil Lynott to Laurence Archer, this album will not disappoint. It’s a robust rock record that respects its heritage without being chained to it, offering enough modernity to engage a new generation of listeners. Nevertheless, the real triumph of “Wheel of Fortune” lies in its ability to encapsulate the spirit of GRAND SLAM: relentlessly innovative, deeply introspective, and always, irrevocably rock ‘n’ roll.

Jorge’s Rating: 8.5/10

 Pre-orders can be placed at this location

Grand slam album

Wheel Of Fortune Track Listing:

  • There Goes My Heart
  • Starcrossed Lovers 
  • Come Together (In Harlem)
  • Trail Of Tears
  • Feeling Is Strong (Jo’s Song)
  • Spitfire
  • I Wanna Know!
  • Pirate Song
  • Afterlife
  • Wheel Of Fortune

Mike Dyer – vocals
Laurence Archer – guitars
Benjy Reid – drums
Rocky Newton – bass 
Wheel Of Fortune is Produced by Laurence Archer
Engineered by Pieter Rietkerk
Mixed by Laurence Archer
Mastered by Matt Wortham & Andy Pearce
Recorded at Chapel Studios; additional recording at Manamana Studios

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