CHEAP WINE – Freak Show (Cheap Wine)

This is Cheap Wine’s fifth album, and as I loved the last so much it was a welcome surprise when it dropped through the letterbox courtesy of Stone Premonitions. This Italian four-piece play rock music as it should be played – loud and snotty, with riffs and solos aplenty and a total disregard for the niceties of fancy production techniques. From the brilliant cover art to the great songs, this whole package just cries out to be heard, but I am just afraid that because they hail from the continent this group will be overlooked by everyone but the few lucky fans in the know. It has been three years since their last album ‘Moving’, but the band sound as good as ever, and with lyrics in English and a distinctly American rock sound they should really appeal to a very wide audience. Check out ‘Exploding Underground’ or ‘Kenny Bring Me Down’ to hear some superb hard rock, or ‘Nothing Left To Say’ for a Dylan-influenced ballad. For the title track they pull out all the stops, from Michele Diamantini’s feedback-drenched solo to the riff that holds the whole song together - it sums up the band in one song. ‘Jugglers And Suckers’ is good old fashioned rock and roll, hard and heavy with the added bonus of an organ solo. ‘Evil Ghost’ winds thing down with a ballad, but as it is a Cheap Wine ballad they use the last six minutes of this nine minute epic as a springboard for one of Diamantini’s best solos, ending this fine album on a high. It is good to know that there are still bands out there that cherish the classic rock sound, and Cheap Wine are one of them. Check out their website at for more info (much of it in Italian, I am afraid, but there are some English snippets) and samples from their five albums.