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Articles Home » 2010 Articles » Stewart, Kenny - 2010 The Brains Behind The Scam
Stewart, Kenny - 2010 The Brains Behind The Scam

ARTIST: Stewart, Kenny
ALBUM: The Brains Behind The Scam
LABEL: Big Spin Records
YEAR: 2010
SPONSOR: Kenny Stewart


LINEUP: Kenny Stewart - vocals, guitars, programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tears To A Glass Eye * 02 Secret Sign * 03 BBD * 04 Kick Me * 05 Down In Four At The Boneyard * 06 All Jazzed Up And Ready * 07 Crown Of Thorns * 08 Broken Glass And Bullet Holes * 09 The Great Divide * 10 Misery Loves Company * 11 Bullet (With Your Name On It) * 12 Cradle To The Grave * 13 Hypnotized * 14 Break My Fall * 15 No Win Situation * 16 Urban Cabaret



For those that don't know, Kenny Stewart is a Scottish musician who also happens to be a founding member of 70's British hard rockers Dirty Tricks. I don't know a great deal about that band, but if memory recalls correctly, they did release three albums between 1975 and 1977. Members of that band have gone to all points of the musical compass (Vardis, Grand Prix, Lionheart for instance), Stewart himself being a member of the Zeppelin tribute band Stairway To Heaven for an extended stint. In more recent times, it would appear that Dirty Tricks have re-assembled (well, Stewart and guitarist Johnny Fraser-Binnie at least), they released 'Up At The Nine Count' back in May 2009 as a digital iTunes release only. Since then, Stewart, who is looking more like the quintessential Robert Plant these days (more so than the original.. lol!) has landed his first solo album after years of being in the business. Kenny is the one-man-plays-all on 'The Brains Behind The Scam', a clever title which will obviously have a deeper meaning than the one at face value.

The Songs
Kenny delivers sixteen tracks, at a touch under an hours listening time. It's a relentless form of hard rock on display, there's not much in the way of deviation, with the programmed drums a slam dunk of kick drums, snares, high-hats and crash rides. The guitars are heavy, but land short of true heavy metal status. If I was to compare Kenny's music it would be a combination of a lighter but still rampant version of Motorhead coupled with the stylish approach of a John Sykes, but without the latter's flashy guitar technique. Also add in a guy like Phil Vincent, who has released a ton of material himself, most of it indie based, something that Kenny has done as well. Because there are so many songs I won't highlight each of them, I'll just pick out a few instead. For instance, 'Misery Loves Company' is a gritty rocker with some tight sounding riffs being churned out. The prelim might feature some flanger-laden swamp guitar, but 'Kick Me' is a solid butt-kicker with thick guitar lines for an aural boost. The amusingly titled 'Broken Glass And Bullet Holes' might generate images of the Kray Brothers running rampant around London back in the day, and one wonders whether 'Bullet (With Your Name On It)' is an extension of that? Probably not, but it's what came into my head while listening to it. 'Cradle To The Grave' is another to feature a full-on assault of Motorhead like proportions. When Kenny changes directly slightly, as on songs like 'BBD' and 'Crown Of Thorns', it's good to know that variations are included, giving the album some change-up moments at least.

In Summary
'The Brains Behind The Scam' is a guitar-rocking album without the flash and pyro effects that we see elsewhere. There's probably one or two songs too many on the CD for my liking, it ends up diluting the overall package and it's easy to lose concentration when there are so many songs to address. However, if this is the first step forward for Kenny in terms of a solo career, then it's clear and easy to say that he is off to a great start. With a few modifications along the way, perhaps one or two guests and backing vocalists to help fill out the sound, then album number two could be well worth waiting for. Check out Kenny's Myspace page for more.

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#1 | tompa on November 16 2010 23:57:19
Although heavy, I agree that the album is not true heavy metal. Which works to its advantage and makes it more longlasting. For once, I actually don't think the number of songs are a few too many, which is often the case. Here we get 16 songs of great variety and lots of ideas. Hard'n'heavy but also an Industry Metal feel to it in places.
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