MACH22 – Sweet Talk Intervention (2014) + Kryptonite Lover (2020)
As requested, here we have “Sweet Talk Intervention”, the full length debut album from MACH22, the band of Sebastian LaBar, son of legendary guitarist Jeff LaBar from CINDERELLA. The Philadelphia hard rock outfit influenced by Aerosmith, Badlands, Blue Murder, and of course, Cinderella, released this CD back in 2014.
After a new EP in 2015, MACH22 became a bit quiet, but now are back with a new single 2020 and a new album in the making.
A really young band, MACH22 already racked up some impressive credentials: opening for Slash, Steel Panther, Tom Keifer, Cheap Thrill, and performing for an audience of 75,000 at Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival. MACH22 also picked up several product endorsements including the prestigious PRS Guitars.
Additionally, MACH22 has been selected by Slash as grand prize winners in ‘Guitar Center On-Stage: Slash Contest’ following the submission of their original song “Don’t You Give Me”.
Produced by Jeff LaBar, “Sweet Talk Intervention” was recorded at Dragon Sound Studios in Nashville, TN, and engineered by Ronnie Honeycutt (Jackyl).
With killer riffs, bluesy rhythms and soulful delivery, the band’s songs span an emotional spectrum capturing that classic hard rock feel yet with a refreshing modern edge.
Yes, MACH22 music is strongly influenced by Badlands, Aerosmith, Blue Murder… and of course Cinderella, but also more recent exponents of this blues-type hard like Red Dragon Cartel or Vandenberg’s Moonkings.
Sebastian LaBar, who was personally trained by his father and quickly set out on his own with a distinctive soloing, is accompanied by versatile singer Lamont Caldwell (Erykah Badu Band, Dave Matthews Band), bass player Jaron Gulino (Charm City Devils), guitarist Ted Merrill (Dizzy Reed Band, Uli Jon Roth) and drummer Damian MonteCarlo.
From the hip-shaking opener “Constant Denier” right through to the closing “Nevermind” with its slamming drums and jerking guitar, this is what some people will call a real rock ’n’ roll album; one which flows naturally and isn’t reliant on a boozy image or riddled with dumb clichés.
Caldwell’s vocal style is simple and effortless. Always soulful his tones drift without strain over the cool, whipped grooves of “Go Ahead” with its rattling bass, and the album’s monster track, “Don’t You Give Me”, where the band add sweeter backing vocals and intensify the groove. The chorus is a breeze; an almost casual croon over a killer riff.
And the class continues with the jolting bass and prodding drum intro of “I’m Just A Man” before kickin’ in to the down n’ dirty style that makes MACH22 who they are.
With guitars cranked and distortion levels maxxed they continue to keep the pace high and hard throughout the great hard rocker “Backslider”, driven by a spiky riff, or in the reflective hum of “Stone Rose” plenty of a Jimi Hendrix spirit
“Radio”, one of the standouts here, re-imagines Tesla playing the Rolling Stones. It’s a song that really underlines the raw potential of the band, while managing to keep a modern edge and is both true to the hard rock template and strangely radio-friendly.
“Made To Love” is fueled by a delicious groove brought to the forefront by prominent, liquid bass-playing, building foundations and decorating the music almost on its own. This track had an enticing uniqueness about it above the rest, which is saying something. In parts, Lamont diverts from a funk-filled delivery to a more aggressive rasp, strangely similar to Paul Di’Anno.
Closer “Nevermind” is one of my absolutely favorites, for putting out a glorious slab of classic hard rock, embellished by Lamont’s lovely contemporary delivery of the lyrics, culminating in an uplifting track full of feel-good.
MACH 22 is a talented young band that really shines through the well written, confident and catchy songs with solid hard rock riffs & engaging lyrics packed into their debut “Sweet Talk Intervention”.
The band take us on a high octane journey through their ten-track opus; the kind of record that has the pulsating power and swagger of classic Aerosmith mixed with the punch of Blue Murder, the bluesy side of Cinderella and with a dash of heavy funk thrown in for good measure. It’s tough to pick favorites as all the songs are strong and have its own charm.
It’s timeless bluesy hard rock but with a modern production / sound, so kudos must go to LaBar senior for his job as there’s a crispness to the album, investing each instrument with clarity.
01. Constant Denier
02. Go Ahead
03. Dont You Give Me
04. I’m Just A Man
05. Stone Rose
07. Made To Love
09. One Trick Pony
New Track 2020:
11. Kryptonite Lover
Lamont Caldwell – Vocals
Sebastian LaBar – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Ted Merrill – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Jaron Gulino – Bass, Vocals
Damian MonteCarlo – Drums