Roxie77 - Peace, Love and Armageddon
This is fantastic. Everything I hoped it would be. Normally when I review I try and list positives AND negatives but I really can`t think of any real negatives musically. Maybe it could use a couple of "heads down" faster songs, but then there`s nothing wrong with anything that`s here. Maybe the production is a bit falt, but that could simply be my equipment (I`m playing it on the computer).
This is no Led Zep IV or Billion Dollar Babies but then I don`t think that would be expected. Ryan is a (Glam) rocker and what we have here is 11 slices of prime pop rock that can stand with anything of that type with it`s head held high. And I mean ANYTHING.
For me it`s impossible to ignore the similarities in style and melody to Enuff Z'Enuff. It`s clear that Ryan (and band) come form the same school of song writing with the heavy Beatles/Cheap Trick influence and the strong sense of melody. It was evident with DPM and just as obvious here. Ryan`s vocals also encourage the comparison. Ryan has a great voice and a talent for crafting a commercial tune. This is driving music. Put it on in the car and crank it up.
The cover is pretty basic with just the Band logo and the limited edition blub, number and Roxie 77 autograph. But then as this is a limited advance release maybe a full colour pic cover will be on the final release. Produced by Gilby Clarke and Ryan and featuring Dan Myers, Mike Fasano, Jeff Morose and Teddy Zigzag (of Alice`s band) it doesn`t say who plays what which as I`m not as familiar with the LA scene isn`t helpful. Obviously Teddy does keyboards and Ryan is on Guitar and vocal but I`d need to check for the other guys to be sure. I think Mike`s the drummer(?) so I assume we have bass and second guitar as well. All aquit themselves well but I`d be interested in knowing which solos Ryan takes (all?) as I`m hopeless at judging that. Ryan is certainly the key player here as it has his character all over it. A good thing!
1: Bustin' Out
Starts out with a nice quite motif before hitting into the expected Glam/Beatles grove, much like Enuff` Z'Enuff in a lot of ways. Fans of the DPM album will recognise the sound straight away. Love the `Suffragette City` reference at the end
2. My Girlfriend
More of the same. Similar song to Bustin' out and just as good. "eyes.."-ish opening riff. I`ve always been a sucker for Cheap Trick`s blend of beatle-ish melody and hard Rock and Ryan nails it.
3. Second Chances
Everyone should have heard this already as a version has been available to download from various sites (including mine) for months. A great mid-tempo "big rock" song. This is actually the sort of thing I normally hate but here it works very well. Ryan has a great voice which carries it through.
4. Control Freak
This could have been on "Eyes.." a Glam/Pink attitude without losing melody. Kinda in a Green Day mode I think (although I only know a few GD tracks). The key to this albums success is becoming obvious. Melody. All the songs so far have great tunes that you can hum/sing along to.
5. On The Way Down
Slowing down a bit again. Not a ballad as such, just quieter. Interesting vocal effects. HAs a part tht is slightly remonistant of "I never Cry" but this isn`t a real slow track and bubbles along nicely. Not sure I like the drum machine (At least it sound like on. I hate Drum Machines)
6. Beat 'Em
Another track in an "Eyes.." vein. Unsurprising that there would be a few as Ryan co-wrote most of that album. Is this Ryan singing? Doesn`t sound like him. Again there`s a hint of AC (circa GTH or L&W) in here. It`s not overt but it`s there in the melody.
7. Love Is War
Starts with the line "It`s been a long time since the Novocaine!". Mid-tempo rocker with an intro that recals "The Song That Didn't Rhyme". Very Enuff Z'nuff. Nice Solo.
8. Traci (The Unbelievable Truth)
Opens with a Riff that`s straight out of the 80`s rock rulebook. Kinda like all those Soundtrack rock songs that were around then. Is this about Traci Guns? I`m never good at working out lyrics. Another good rocker with a commercial edge (as everything here has).
9. Simple Plan
Lovely opening accoustic riff that provides the foundtaion of the song before drums come in with an initial beat that reminds me a bit of Fleetwood Macs "Go Your Own Way' nefore reverting to a more standard beat. Another laid back track. Nice keyboard florishes by Teddy. Love the way the beat changes time.
10. What Kind Of Life
This is different. Fuzzed vocal and real "recorded in a garage" drum sound before it cuts to another big rock melodic track then back again. We`ve heard Ryan use this vocal effect before (the singing down the phone effect) and it works well. He really DOES have a great voice.
11. One More Day
An up tempo rocker to finish with. Has the line "Still in this Dragontown" that jumps out at you. Great Song.
Buy it. Don`t hesitate.
Either now, if there are any advance copies left (they had to up the limited numbers to 177 due to overwelming demand) or when it gets a full release. Any record company should be screaming to release this and with the right promotional push it should be huge but, of course, in the current climate that`s unlikey to happen. But who knows.Pretty much every track on here could be a hit single. Hard as it may sound (and slightly selffish, sorry) this could be a blessing for Alice fans as I think Alice would lose a great deal without Ryan there stage right as he would surely have to leave the band if the album sold what it deserves to sell. (Hope you understand what I mean Ryan. You deserve the success but I worry that we the Alice fans would lose out a bit). I`ve been saying it for years. Ryan is a star... and this proves it again.
Now I left one final point until the very end. How does P,L&A compare to"The Eyes Of Alice Cooper". Well, I`ve said before that "Eyes" isn`t my favourite sort of style for Alice. I like the classic rock Alice. The epics of 'Steven', 'Inmates' etc and that was mostly missing from "Eyes". Ryan has produced a work that works to his strengths. Short sharp pop/rock songs. Alice *could* sing these songs (obviously) but I thnk they fit Ryan`s voice better.
The big question, which would I take to a desert island? At this point it
would be Ryan`s album.
(And I'm just as surprised at that as anyone else)
To repeat. Just buy it.
PS: It`s running through a second time now. It`s getting better!
Available from www.roxie77.com