Storm Large – Ladylike, Side One (2007)

Couple things out of the way first. Yes, Storm Large is her real name, kinda. Storm is her middle name (Susan being her first) but let’s face it, if your middle name was as cool as Storm, you’d use it too. Yes you would, and you know it.

Second, there’s the other obvious thing to get out of the way – she’s 6ft tall, blonde, stunning, and would probably kick your ass in a bar fight. She gives off the impression she’s done that many times already. Not you specifically, but people in general.

She’s also the proud owner of one of the finest voices I’ve ever heard, and one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. A voice that could rule Broadway (she has performed in a couple of musicals there) doesn’t always lend itself well to good old fashioned rock n’ roll music, but Storm? She’s a one off. She does it flawlessly, and with room to spare.

Storm shot to “fame” as part of the ill fated Tommy Lee, Jason Newstead & Gilby Clarke reality show “Rock Star: Supernova” – a follow up to the show that found a new singer for INXS; the twist this time is that the band had no previous singer, so were auditioning… she didn’t win, but that’s no bad thing. The eventual winner has since disappeared back into obscurity, along with the Supernova band that spun out of the show.

Storm has gone on to have a succesful career with a one woman show, touring the States, the afore-mentioned Broadway shows, even a short stint at the Edinburgh fringe – and an autobiography to be released in 2012… this album, however, was released on the back of the Supernova bandwagon.

Album opener ‘Beautiful’ is all about strings and restrained melody, Storm reigning in her voice for most of the song, proving she’s more than just raw power; ‘Beautiful’ shows her delicate side, her emotional delivery offering a stark contrast to the rest of the record, and especially the next track.

‘Ladylike’ is the song that bought her to the party. Performed on the TV show with Dave Navarro, he adds guitars to this version, but it’s no more than window dressing. Storm’s deep vocals, rushed delivery and smooth vocals totally and utterly steal this track.

“She’s big and proud / and she knows what the world is about”

Part feminist anthem, part rock chick rebellion, the gentle start betrays the rest of the track; a real sing-a-long, angry chorus, delivered with real venom, it represents Storm as well as anything she could say.

With the other tracks, it’s all about showcasing her amazing strength of vocals, not to mention her range. ‘Fat Chick’s Revenge’ and ‘Twisted Jimmy’ are straight out, balls to the wall, old fashioned rock songs, but with Storm’s delicious vocals planted in the mix.

‘You and You and Me’ is an ode to a threesome. Possibly one she may have had in her past. Yes, really. One thing with Storm, she has no fear of any subject, and a mouth that would make a sailor blush… so don’t expect nice laid back listening or a record for your parents.

“Delicious is this energy / between you and you and me
I think I like you and your friend / and in the morning we’ll pretend we never met”

‘Under You’ has a melody that sticks in your head like glue, a pretty simple acoustic guitar line with just Storm’s vocals driving it along… and then the same acoustic riff morphs into an electric riff, with full band backing in the snap of a finger.

A cover of the Pixies classic ‘Where Is My Mind’ rounds off the seven tracks on this record. A woman’s voice covering the Pixies could be a recipe for disaster, but Storm has the craft to pull it off perfectly. This remains one of my favourite ever cover versions of any song, and is reason enough to search out this record. Seriously.

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