By Michael Popke
Arguably, few 1980s-era bands have been dogged by tragedy and bad blood as much as Great White. The fractured group’s legacy includes infighting, legal squabbles and 2003’s infamous fire that broke out during a performance at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., killing 100 people (guitarist Ty Longley among them).
“Elation” seeks to put all that — as well as original lead singer Jack Russell, who now fronts a different version of Great White — behind the band. Catchy, gritty tunes that skinny-dip into the blues (“Feelin’ So Much Better,” “Resolution,” “Shotgun Willie’s”) announce the arrival of what original drummer Audie Desbrow has called a “rebirth.” New vocalist Terry Ilous, formerly of XYZ, joins Desbrow and two other original members, his sweetly raw voice making Ilous an ideal replacement for Russell.
Great White doesn’t even approach anything like the epic “Rock Me” here, yet still displays an unexpected hunger and enthusiasm 12 albums into a 30-year career.
— Michael Popke