Monday, November 23, 2009
Review – Fight Juice: Crack One Open
Kris Kelly is the guitar coach at Kelly FretWorks and is the guitarist for the fusion group Fight Juice. Fight Juice recently released their debut CD “Crack One Open”. Outside of Fight Juice, Kris has performed with a number of bands including; Deadly Blessing, Ben Vega & the Believers and Heist. Kris also appeared on the IRS/MCA Heist album “High Heel Heaven”, alongside rock icons Ronnie Montrose, and Night Ranger’s Jeff Watson and Kelly Keagy. Kris continues to teach, record, produce and collaborate in northern California.
On to the review of “Crack One Open”:
Fight Juice is a rock-metal-blues fusion of instrumental tunes “for driving, loving, drinking, working and living!” according to the band.
Speaking of the band, the members include Kris Kelly (Guitar), Rick O'Connell (Drums), Dave "Mr. Pie" Riegert (Bass) and Ben Vega (Keyboards).
Album opener, Corporate Casual, is a rock ‘n rollish number, with distinct elements of Jazz/Rock fusion. Kelly’s overdriven tone is right there with the usual big name fusioneers, and his chops don’t let him down either.
Track 2, Roscoe’s Shuffle, has a great organ tone from Vega and a fantastic erm…shuffle rhythm to it, but the vibe stays quite dark, helping the Kelly’s awesome clean(ish) solo to stand out. The main solo has a great climax, all the while staying true to the blues genre.
The 3rd track is way down instrumental rock avenue. With a wah being used on the head, tapping, wammy stunts and a driving rock rhythm, most would recognize the Satch influence here. Very fun.
Missing You, the 4th track is a laid back, loungey piece. Great fusion sensibility from every member of the band, a real pleasure to listen to. Kelly pulls out a biting tone for the main solo and drops some scary legato licks.
Track 5 mysteriously named, 3rd I, is back into the Jazz/Rock Fusion arena, complete with a fast waltz feel, storming bass solo from Riegert and another mind bender from Vega.
Rainy Day At The Sunglass Hut features a wonderful guest solo by Jim Harrison at 3:13-3:37. Sadly, Jim has passed on to the big stage in the sky. A great fusion track, perhaps with a nod to genre pioneers.
The slowest track on the record, Blueberries In My Kibble, has at least one foot in the blues, with emotive solos from Vega and Kelly
The 7/8 feel of the 8th track, Orbit, is loads of fun. I heard some Caribbean influence, as well as a definite throwback to prog and fusion inventors from the 70’s.
The closing track, Goodbye (Reprise) starts off with some atmospheric synth sounds and a clean lead guitar, and heads into another big rocker. This is probably my favorite track as a result of both Kelly’s tone and playing. An excellent track to end on.
If you’re at all into Return to Forever, Vital Information and Tribal Tech, check these guys out for sure.