McAlister - Smokescreen/Up On Air (Universal Digital)
UK release date: 1 August 2005
The name McAlister (with an extra L) may be synonymous for football fans with the balding footballer who performed heroics for both Leeds United and Liverpool, but there are five Brummies who aim to associate it with some good old-fashioned guitar rock.
McAlister deal in unashamedly retro rock, as this debut, download-only, release demonstrates. The riffs are impressive, and Danny McAlister has the throaty, raw vocals of a star in waiting - and the ego too, if naming the band after the lead singer is anything to go by. Smokescreen recalls the heyday of Free or Bad Company, while Up On Air could accurately describe itself as a power ballad - you can almost smell the lighters illuminating the stadiums that McAlister obviously dream about filling.
Whether they'll progress from dingy pubs in the West Midlands to following U2 and Coldplay round the world's stadia is unclear from this - there's nothing particularly different or revolutionary about them, but then they don't claim to be so. If 'meat and potatoes' rock is your bag, then McAlister are well worth keeping an eye on.