The wait is finally over… Izzy Stradlin is back. It has been six long years since the former Guns ‘n Roses’ guitarist made his debut as a solo artist with his band Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. Now Stradlin, minus the Hounds, has returned with the scorching effort 117 Degrees.
117 Degrees excels in large part due to all the different types of music Stradlin has incorporated, including metal, punk, blues, surf, country, and just good old rock ‘n roll. It also helps that Stradlin has a voice and style very similar to Keith Richards. In addition, Stradlin has enlisted the help of some extremely talented musicians — guitarist Rick Richards (Georgia Satellites, Ju Ju Hounds), bassist Duff McKagan (Guns ‘n Roses), and drummer Taz Bentley (Reverend Horton Heat).
Although every track is a winner, some stand out more than others. For example, both the southern-rock flavored tracks “Ain’t It A Bitch” and “Old Hat.” Stradlin also shines on Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” and the hard-rocking title track. One of the more intriguing songs on the record is “Here Before You,” which opens with an older-sounding recording of the song. Interestingly, Stradlin features two instrumentals on this album, the metalish “Grunt” and the groovin’ “Surf Roach,” both of which are highly enjoyable.
117 Degrees is an outstanding accomplishment for Stradlin, who manages to give listeners something few bands can — an album that is incredible from beginning to end.