Rock returns with the Michael Des Barres Band's 'Carnaby Street'
Michael Des Barres Band, "Carnaby Street" ***1/2
Michael Des Barres describes his new album as "authentic rock 'n' roll, based in American blues, R&B ... three-chord, unabashed rocking music." That pretty much nails it.
The real treat here is how well the British musician and actor and his four-man band grasp those rock 'n' roll basics, stirring echoes of the Stones and the Faces (with the rasp in his voice, the 64-year-old Des Barres sometimes brings to mind Rod Stewart). "You're My Pain Killer" begins the album on a slow burn, and "Please Stay" is a pleading, gospel-inflected ballad that sounds like a lost Stax classic. Mostly, though, "Carnaby Street" is glorious, pedal-to-the-metal riff-rocking, played with swagger and panache and -- beginning with Des Barres himself and his thoroughly unpretentious, hook-heavy songs -- plenty of heart.
-- Nick Cristiano,