Blue Coupe - Million Miles More
Blue Coupe should no longer need any introduction, especially to regular readers of the news page. Alice Cooper cofounder Dennis Dunaway joined forces with long time friends Joe and Albert Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult several years ago and released their excellent debut album 'Tornado On The Tracks' back in 2010. Since then they have toured Europe and the UK, as well as regular shows around the US and Canada playing a mixture of original songs and material by their respective former groups.
'Million Miles More' is their second full length album and is a step forward in every way. Produced by Jack Douglas and Warren Huart the album is diverse while retaining a unified band sound which falls close to the BOC sound but with touches of Cooper mixed in.
The album opens with the epic 'Prophets, Dukes and Nomads' that has a definite 'Who' feel, especially on the chorus. There's even a mini Bass solo near then end very reminiscent of something Enwistle would do.
Next up is 'Hellfire Hurry' which is a more BOC-like tune.
It's evident how far the trio's song writing and arranging seems to have come from the first album. There are little twists and time changes that all fit together perfectly, avoiding things becoming predictable. Just to add even more spice there's also a guest appearance by BOC's guitar God Buck Dhama.
'Hallow's Grave' is probably the song that will get the most attention, simply because it's the track that features Alice Cooper himself singing. In many ways this looks back to the early years of Alice Cooper (it could almost be a long lost track from 'Easy Action') with it's 60s backing vocals (by Tish and Snooky) and rolling bass. Alice even sounds more like he did all those years ago and it's simply wonderful. Dennis' bass to right up front and you can hear that old AC sound. Brilliant, but too short!
'Everybody Goes Insane' keeps the quality high with a mid-paced, melodic BOC-style song that wouldn`t be out of place on something like 'Spectres'. 'I'll Forever Stick Around' is a slow ballad with some nice melodic changes before 'Modern Love (Stalking Time)' takes things to a slightly weird place with it's simple repetitive Status Quo boogie riff and sci-fi synths. I would imagine that on stage they could have great fun just jamming this endlessly! On record though, at nearly 5 minutes, it maybe goes on a little too long without really doing anything new past the middle break. It DOES grow on you though!
'Used Car' starts with mournful harmonica and acoustic guitar before kicking into another mid-paced grove creating the feel of driving through the desert at night on one of those long straight roads you see in the movies.
'Supernatural Love' is a great commercial pop-rock song that bounces along with nice lead runs. 'Train Of Thought' swaggers on a slow swing beat with nicely arranged backing vocals.
The album proper ends with three straight ahead rockers in 'Ain't Dead' with an energetic closing solo by Ross The Boss (Dictators, Manowar), 'Ride With Me' and 'Devil's Highway' which should all serve them well on stage. All are very good, but maybe just a slight step back from some of the brilliance that preceded.
Previously released as a single, bonus track 'More Cowbell (Gotta Fever)' is a bit of fun more then anything, remembering the famous BOC/Saturday Night Live cowbell sketch.
The thing that stands out on 'Million Miles More' is the high standard of songwriter and arranging on display. The songs are extremely well crafted and a noticeable step ahead of the first album. Even the performances by the band seem to have a new level of polish and imagination.
In the end it would be a great shame if 'Million Miles More' didn't allow Blue Coupe to move up a level and get more exposure. The quality here is head and shoulders above most releases by "classic" bands or musicians and we can only look forward to what my come next!