Record Reviews

The Crows “Ready When You Are”

Freddy Villano is back. Grown-up American rock with British influences is what The Crows gives us on the band’s debut album.

American bassist Freddy Villano is best known for his stints with Quiet Riot, Dee Snider’s Widowmaker and Earl Slick. More recently he has become a member of The Rods. Due to his fine track record, Roppongi Rocks always keeps an eye (and ear) on what Freddy is up to. Now he is back with a new band, The Crows. The band The Crows has evolved from Dambusters. Dambusters recorded a few songs a few years ago with vocalist Jimmy Kunes (Cactus, Savoy Brown). Now the band’s core trio – Freddy Villano on bass, Jimmy Gumina (Noisy Mama) on guitar and Vic Pullen (Larry Mitchell, Francis Dunnery) on drums – has been joined by vocalist Michael Santarsiero (ex-Totally Lost Cause) and renamed themselves The Crows.

The Crows’ debut album, “Ready When You Are”, is full of grown-up hard rock with bluesy 70s hard rock vibes. The bass is, as expected, great throughout the album. But I am also impressed with the fine guitar work by Jimmy Gumina which shows us that British guitarists of yesteryear have influenced this American guitarist. There is plenty of variety on the album. “Evil at the Gate” is a slow song that is both different and very good while “Boom Bang Twang” is an instrumental track that sounds like a terrific jam from the 1970s. “Pretty Little Liar” is a track with a funky jam feel and plenty of groove. It is also a song that fits Michael Santarsiero’s voice perfectly. He gets to shine here. “Red Rover” is another fab track with a blues vibe.

Throughout the album, we get great melodies. Much of the songwriting has a 60s feel while the delivery is often drenched in 70s rock. The combination makes this a rather special rock album. Craftmanship still makes a difference. I am a failed bassist. Bassists such as Freddy Villano made me love the bass guitar. The same musicians made me realise I couldn’t compete at that level. Bassists like Freddy make the rumbling bass an essential part of the songs, not an instrument hidden behind the drums and the guitars. The low-end matters!

The Crows’ debut album “Ready When You Are” is out now via Lions Pride Music.