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Sammy Hagar & The Circle | Space Between

The Red Rocker gets topical on his aggressively lean umpteenth album.

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You know times are tough — not to mention downright weird — when Sammy Hagar is singing about income inequality. Believe it or not, the Red Rocker and former Van Halen frontman gets more topical than ever before on his umpteenth album Space Between, a loose concept album about money, power and greed. But fear not, Redheads (no, seriously; that’s what his fans are called). While Sammy is belting out lyrics about trust fund babies, chump change and the bottom line, his latest supergroup The Circle — longtime guitarist Vic Johnson, former VH bandmate and bassist Michael Anthony, and drummer Jason (son of John) Bonham — keep things from getting too serious by cranking out track after track of aggressively lean arena-rock. Clocking in at just under 35 minutes, it might actually be a little too lean at times — the disc is deliberately devoid of shredding and solos, and a few songs feel slightly underwritten, fading out before you expect. But even though it’s still an album far more suited to belting brews and playing air guitar than debating economic policy, it’s nice to see Hagar weighing in on something more relevant than love, rock ’n’ roll and his inability to obey the speed limit.