This album just popped out of nowhere (well, the letterbox) courtesy of the band so I gave it a polite spin in the cranky old CD player. And what a pleasant surprise. Dripping with classic 80s/90s up-tempo rock, this is a little gem of a collection.
The band cite the likes of KISS and Skid Row as influences and they’re very apparent, indeed the latter’s “Sweet Little Sister” keeps trying to stamp itself into my brain while I’m listening to opener “Cat Got Your Tongue”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it does mean they have a sound that’s already proven popular and they rest of the album holds up.
Lead single “Anthem for the Last Days of Earth” is, frankly, a belter. A wonderful, catchy main riff and a chorus designed for a crowd to sing back this is the kind of song rock bands dream of writing. Sure, it’s cheesy and hinges basically on staring armageddon in the face while shrugging and going “fuck it, let’s party”. Yes, this has been done before but as long as the hook’s there I could take any number of tracks like this. It’s like Andrew WK meets Seb Bach.
There are songs with a bit more grit (“We Came To Fight”, “City of Nightmares”) and the token ballad (“(I’m Not Ready To) Say Goodbye”), plus a cover to wrap things up (Survivor’s “Burning Heart”) and the whole shebang is full of great musicianship while being – and this is important – fun.
There is a criticism, though, and it’s the production. While the bass drum thumps nicely and the guitars are well placed, the vocals – both lead and backing – are often somewhat reedy and ever so slightly out of sync with each other. It’s a minor annoyance, but it takes the gloss off an otherwise great little album.
I could sum it up this way, though, to put a positive spin on it. Check out the video below and look at how rough around the edges it is. Sure, they could have spent thousands more and had Michael Bay-esque explosions and Hollywood effects but what we have is a video which is glued together by love, sweat, rock and roll instead of big bucks… and is bloody wonderful because of it (don’t miss the tiny bit at the end!). The album as a whole is like this. Sure, I’d like to “fix” those vocals a bit, but I’d also hate for the album to lose its character.
Definitely recommended, and I say that as my foot is tapping to the title track – one of the best-produced on the album with a thumping bass line and spot on vocals!