BARRY GOUDREAU’s ENGINE ROOM – Full Steam Ahead (2017)
Guitarist Barry Goudreau, former member of legendary band BOSTON, is alive and kickin’ with his band BARRY GOUDREAU’s ENGINE ROOM releasing their debut album in 2017 titled “Full Steam Ahead“.
This heavy bluesy classic rock outfit includes his former RTZ bandmates Brian Maes on lead vocals & keyboards and Tim Archibald on bass, rounded out with Tony Depietro on drums, a tight combo delivering a vital, highly enjoyable slice of pure timeless rock.
Barry Goudreau returns to top form with his latest project Engine Room. His creativity and his manner of expressing it come across in fully realized, three dimensional songs combining of course the classic Boston atmospheres, rockin’ blues and some of the melodic, AOR feel of his former projects Orion The Hunter and RTZ.
Somebody must have added a turbo shot to Goudreau’s coffee because this lead guitar man plays here like a streaking meteorite that’s never coming down.
Opening track ‘Need’ is killer rocker with a rushing, urgent energy in its full throttle guitar phrase, its relentless groove, and in its smooth soaring vocals. Feeling lofty and airborne and racing at full speed, ‘Need’ weaves a robust sound out of thin air.
Crunchy, bluesy guitar work from Goudreau and greasy harmonica lines from guest musician James Montgomery make ‘Layin’ It Down (In Beantown)’ a tune with multi layered allure. With much for the ears to feast on, this tune rocks out on the two melodic instruments while the raw, emotive vocals of Brian Maes and some soulful ladies on backing vocals keep it essentially cool. Their chorus is irresistible.
The slow burning ‘Time’ comes wafting in on the strengths of a breezy, smoky guitar line and on Maes’s soulful, heartfelt crooning.
Goudreau and company swing back into rockin’ action with ‘Treat You Right’, driven by an oiled rhythm section. They keep the head bobbing and the toes tapping to their pushy groove. Meanwhile, Goudreau wraps his lead guitar phrase tightly around that groove, plus Maes’ layers of assertive keyboard work.
Still in that rockin’ frame of mine, this outfit kicks out ‘Dirty’, a number that contrasts with fine results hard driving, action packed guitar, keys and groove with gentler, high flying female backing vocals.
‘Keep The Faith’ is a jaunty, mid-tempo rocker, one coated with a bouncy, engaging lead guitar cruise. Maes sings it with that soulful authority, and he’s often surrounded by that tuft of heavenly choir girls.
‘Don’t Stop Please’ finds Goudreau pressing out a scorching guitar line. Clearly inspired by all of those no nonsense, take-no-prisoners classic rock numbers from the Seventies, they all play like there’s no tomorrow and this is their last chance to put a dent in the world.
The boys take it down in tempo but not in energy or pluck during ‘Why’ with Maes’s raspy vocals and Goudreau’s tasteful lead guitar line compliment each other brilliantly.
‘Ball Keeps Rollin’ has the mountainous instrumental build up and even larger chorus that practically screams “spin this” at programmers at local radio stations. Goudreau’s sharp, searing guitar line keeps taking it higher and higher.
‘Reason To Rhyme’ returns Goudreau to his ’80s Orion The Hunter AOR flavored tones. The lead vocal has an epic, standing on the edge of tomorrow expanse, while Goudreau must be playing his guitar through a time machine as he captures the magic of a time in music when sound recordings were becoming more polished, wider and melodic. A favorite from the album and a highlight.
For the end, ‘All Mine’ conjures a vibe of bluesy electric / acoustic guitars and a deeply expressive voice into organic sounds. Very sweet tune.
Goudreau and his pals have come up with a hell of a project with Engine Room and this “Full Steam Ahead” album is aptly named. They form into a perfect machine that pumps out high octane rock and roll, deeply felt blues, and even a little special blast of ’80s AOR.
Heck, Goudreau might even be able to finally step out from under the shadow of that other legendary rock and roll band.
01 – Need
02 – Layin’ It Down (In Beantown)
03 – Time
04 – Treat You Right
05 – Dirty
06 – Keep the Faith
07 – Don’t Stop Please
08 – Why
09 – Ball Keeps Rollin’
10 – Reason to Rhyme
11 – All Mine
Barry Goudreau – guitars
Brian Maes – vocals, keyboards
Tim Archibald – bass
Tony Depietro – drums
James Montgomery – guest harmonica
Mary Maes, Terri O’Soro, Joanie Cicatelli – background vocals