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Vanderberg's MoonKings - Vanderberg's MoonKings

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 22 / 3 / 2014

Vanderberg's MoonKings - Vanderberg's MoonKings
Label: Provogue Records
Format: CD


Dynamic and instantly accessible hard rock on debut album from Vandenberg’s MoonKings, the new band of ex-Whitesnake and Teaser guitarist Adrian Vanderberg

The debut album from Adrian Vandenberg’s new band, MoonKings, is going to be the highlight of 2014 for many hard rock fans. As an on/off major player in Whitesnake for well over a decade altogether, Vandenberg won the hearts of legions of the hard rock army with his distinctive and blistering guitar playing. Eventually Vandenberg put his musical career on the backburner to concentrate on his other passion: Art. Vandenberg had already designed many album sleeves including the sleeve for his first album with Teaser as far back as 1978. In 2011, Vandenberg was invited to write a song for FC Twente, the football club of his hometown of Enschede (champions of the Dutch premier league 2010), hooking up with singer Jan Hoving and further down the line drummer Mart Nijen-Es and bassist Sem Christoffel. The quartet performed at the Football Player Of The Year Awards show. Vandenberg immediately felt that the new songs he’d written for a forthcoming album were ideally suited to this line-up. Recording these songs at Wisseloord Studios near Amsterdam was like a homecoming for Vandenberg; he recorded his debut album there when he was a member of Teaser. Vandenberg produced the MoonKings’ debut, and the fact that the album was recorded using vintage equipment may go some way to explaining why this collection of thirteen songs, while sounding punchy and dynamic and obviously having its roots in seventies and eighties rock, sounds so authentic yet fresh today. Although it would be totally unfair to say that the album has a retro feel, somehow Vandenberg and company have made an amazingly contemporary sounding hard rock album. Vandenberg knew what he was doing when he chose the musicians to make up his new band. Hoving is a powerful singer goes some way to bringing elements of Led Zeppelin to some of these songs. That’s not to say that he’s any type of Robert Plant clone, but Hoving is an expressive singer and an excellent front man for this music. Nijen-Es and Christoffel form a solid base, while for many the focus is obviously on Vandenberg’s guitar work which has lost none of its inventiveness and power. It is, after all, what will attract many listeners to this album initially at least. Vandenberg’s talent has a writer has never been in doubt and all the songs here are instantly accessible, powerfully melodic and never outstaying their welcome. It’s an album that is impossible to sit still to and will keep air-guitarists smiling happily for the rest of the year. But there’s a feeling of space here too. It’s not just one loud wall of sound though, Although the more delicate songs such as ‘Breathing’ and ‘Out of Reach’ are no doubt going to be labeled as power ballads, there’s more depth to songs like this than you’d usually expect from a hard rock band when they slow the pace a little. There’s even a new version of ‘Sailing Ships’ featuring David Coverdale on vocals that closes the album on a beautiful note. ‘MoonKings’ is a hard rock album that will attract admirers who wouldn’t usually give their time to this type of music. It’s well worth a listen even if Vandenberg’s earlier work didn’t really touch you. It’s a varied and obviously (given Vandenberg’s previous albums) accomplished set of songs which given the forthcoming European and American tours Vandenberg has planned, including a number of festivals this summer, is going to be one of the surprises of 2014 for many music fans.

Track Listing:-
1 Lust and Lies
2 Close To You
3 Good Thing
4 Breathing
5 Steal Away
6 Line of Fire
7 Out of Reach
8 Feel It
9 Leave This Town
10 One Step Behind
11 Leeches
12 Nothing Touches
13 Sailing Ships

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