Duff McKagan – ‘Lighthouse’ [Album Review]

Review: Benjamin Coe

An absolute powerhouse of a musical force, Duff McKagan has been on everyone’s radar for near-on 40 years now. Most prolifically known for his work as the bassist for 80’s glam superstars Guns N’ Roses and later Velvet RevolverMcKagan has proven time and time again that his songwriting skills reach far and beyond.

Having already released 2 previous solo albums, 1993’s Believe in Me and 2019’s Tenderness, the latest instalment in an already storied career, Lighthouse, is a charming and often-times delicate journey through the life of a man who has seen his fair share of the wide world.

The title track opens the album beautifully with some light acoustic strumming complimented by Duff’s signature vocal which is reminiscent of not only the 80’s glam rock scene in which he played a massive part but also harkens to a more psychedelic rock vibe from the late 60’s to 70’s albeit with a modern shine to the production.

Lead single Longfeather follows with its piano-driven verses and catchy as hell chorus proving once again that this man knows how to write a damn good tune. The energy is infectious and carries well throughout the album’s runtime, providing an excellent soundtrack to a chilled Sunday afternoon or a nice long road trip down a country highway.

It’s hard to pigeonhole the overall sound of the record, with tracks such as Forgiveness and Fallen Ones showing a more country-ish side to McKagans songwriting while songs like the rock-ridden Hope (which features long-time friend and bandmate Slash on lead guitars) are a bit more edgy. And the guest spots don’t just end there with another long-time friend and collaborator Jerry Cantrell of grunge icons Alice In Chains lending his skills to the acoustic stylings of one of many standouts, I Just Don’t Know.

One of my personal favourites, I Saw God On 10th Street, is an excellent example of the earworm-like songwriting that permeates every track on Lighthouse and at times sounds like a hit from the incomparable Bob Dylan. The lyricism is top-tier and shows a worldly and well-travelled side to the superstar musician.

The absolutely rockin’ energy of Just Another Shakedown is yet another outstanding moment among a diamond field of songs as each track stands tall and proud on their own volition. There is not a weak moment to be heard here and whether you’re a fan of his other musical endeavours or not, Duff McKagan most certainly deserves your attention.

The skill here cannot be overstated, this collection of songs will undoubtedly resonate with you long after the final track (a short-but-sweet reprise of the title track featuring a guest spot from the godfather of punk Iggy Pop) has played and even begs for an instant repeat run through.

LIGHTHOUSE is out now. 

Order now: https://duffmckagan.ffm.to/lighthouseretailold