Sammy Hagar and the Circle – Space Between (2019)

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Age shouldn’t be a factor, but it’s hard to ignore.  At 71 years of age, it’s absolutely remarkable that Sammy Hagar is not just releasing new material, but material that puts the youngsters to shame.

His latest offering, (his first with The Circle) Space Between, is a great hard rock album, and while it makes perfect use of a stellar backing band featuring Michael Anthony on bass, Jason Bonham on drums and Vic Johnson (long time Hagar colaborator) on guitars, it’s very much a vocal album, with Hagars voice front and centre.

Opening with Devil Came to Philly, Hagar steals the show from the very beginning, with acapella vocal sections that demonstrate the strength of a seasoned voice.

Full Circle Jam (Chump Change) is a shuffling blues beast, swaggering along, while Can’t Hang is a southern infused slow burner, making excellent use of Michael Anthony’s backing vocal harmonies.

Wide Open Space begins as an acoustic number, that builds towards an anthemic arena pleaser.  On Free Man, Sammy and co. unleash their inner hard rock gods, with massive riffs and a huge drum sound from Bonham, making for a major highlight of Space Between.

Money has played a major role in the lyrical content thus far, and Bottom Line doesn’t flip the script at all.  Sounding like 80’s era Bruce Springsteen, this is a very catchy pop rock song that wouldn’t be out of place on a film soundtrack.

No Worries has a certain swagger to it, and tells the story of an individual who might be a little down on their luck, but couldn’t be happier for it.  Trust Fun Baby really shows off the guitar prowess of Hagar, but also of the underrated Vic Johnson.  It’s a fast paced song, again making great use of Michael Anthony’s backing harmonies.  It’s high energy from the start, and it’s no surprise that it’s the first single.

Affirmation is very 80’s rock sounding, but not in a dated way.  It actually proves to be another highlight amongst a very solid collection of songs.

Hey Hey (Without Greed) closes out the album with an acoustic sing along number.  It’s not the most obvious way to close out the album, but it serves as a reprise of the opener, so it works in that respect.

In my opinion, Space Between is the most cohesive album that Hagar has released with any band, in over a decade.  More of this please..

7/10

Review by Shayne McGowan

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