Published on March 22nd, 2017 | by Justin G.
Jack Russell’s Great White: He Saw It Coming (Frontiers)
When Great White split with founding vocalist Jack Russell (again) in 2010, I came down squarely with Team Jack. In my book, there is no Great White without Jack Russell, and I wasn’t surprised when the album the rest of the guys put out with Terry Ilous (2011’s Elation) fell flat. I knew Russell would regroup and give us an album worthy of the Great White legacy.
Fast forward to 2017 and we finally get the debut full-length album from Jack Russell’s Great White, titled He Saw It Coming. Russell is joined by former Great White guitarist (now bassist) Tony Montana and some new faces. They’ve come up with an album that…kind of falls flat, actually.
On paper He Saw It Coming should be a winner. It has a rested and recovered Jack Russell fronting a band that knows its way around the kind of bluesy rock Great White is known for. And to be sure, Russell sounds great, with that signature bluesy, soulful voice. Likewise the musicianship is solid. The songs just don’t stand out the way you expect a set of Great White tunes to do. Leadoff rocker “Sign of the Times” is a winner, and the very melodic “Love Don’t Live Here” are winners, but the rest of the album just feels like going through the motions. They’re not bad, but they’re not songs that you feel compelled to play over and over either.
Maybe part of the problem is that this feels like a Jack Russell solo album. And yes, I know it’s Jack Russell’s Great White, but Russell’s two (very good) solo albums had this kind of softer, more mellow vibe. Once you call something Great White, you need to deliver that Great White energy, and He Saw It Coming just doesn’t do that.
I really wanted to like this one. Yes it’s a better album overall than Elation, but that’s not setting the bar very high, is it? It has its moments, but not enough of them.