Hear The Track HereI am amazed and delighted to see (in this months review list) so many old faces, so if you think that JPC NZ is a new artist better think again. I first reviewed this New Zealand based musician with This Time (January 2006); loved the track, gave it a very high rating and then settled down to hear track after track of excellent rock pop from this extremely versatile musician. He was, during that time, known to all and sundry as Fluidity. Now going under his own name John Paul Carroll (whichever disguise he happens to be in) is a very noticeable presence - and one we haven't seen for some time. It looks like the last time we met was with SixOne9 (October 2008) which - to be honest - didn't strike me as hard as some of his tracks.
That was then and this is now...
Now the one thing, besides being an extremely good guitarist, that John Paul excels in is songwriting. It's his talent with a tune that has kept my ears fresh for years and I admit to looking forward to hearing this new track. Although the vocal style was instantly familiar, the track's ultra-hard edge was completely unexpected. I've always admired JP's talent for sticking to his groove and making it work for him, and the primary influence was usually English rock. The harder rock edge on Shepherd has more to do with the current crop of VERY HARD rock bands such as Tool, Pearl Jam and Incubus - all of whom JP cites as influences.
Personally I like that rock scene and consequently I like this track too, for all the same reasons. I've always liked it when JP rocks out and in this track, the crunchiness of the track is startling. However, there are some things I wasn't happy about such as the 'toppiness' of the drums, the lead vocal definitely disappears under the mix several times and some strange panning positions. Nobody but a knobhead (oops I mean knob-twiddler) like me would ever take exception to it though, to most people this would be a diamond find. Moreover, the disappearing vocal has also been a feature of past JPC/Fluidity material and is a feature of the equipment he has to work with. Another welcome return.
Highly Rockommended in-yer-face rock. Did I say this was rock yet?