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| 8 August 2019 | Reply

Label: earMUSIC

Release Date: June 21, 2019

Rating: 99%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I loved the debut release from Hollywood Vampires, but let’s be honest – it was hard not to.  It was full of classic material played by amazing musicians that came together for the love of music.  When the sophomore effort was announced, I was curious what would come of it – with almost all new material.  Disc opener “I Want My Now” has a cool vibe from the first note through the last.  The guitar work from the trio of Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, and Tommy Henricksen gives the song muscle all the way through.  Alice Cooper’s vocals are spot on and instantly gives the song that gritty rock sound.  The piano thrown in throughout the track is cool.  The track has a drawn out ending that reflects the bands love of music.  The spoken word piece “Good People Are Hard To Find” leads into “Who’s Laughing Now.”  This track is bass heavy from the opening, but the chugging guitar riffs join the fray quickly and the song is off and running.  The vocals are rich and takes quick twists and turns at the chorus, but the layered chorus is contagious.  The real star is the guitar work on this song as it draws you in and keeps you interested.  “Welcome To Bushwackers” features two guests – guitarist Jeff Beck and some spoken word from John Waters.  This country-tinged piece has a different vibe from most of the tracks, but it incorporates a rock and roll spirit that is fun to listen to.  The song benefits from Cooper’s vocals and the menagerie of guitarists that pick up a six-string on the track.  “Git From Round Me” kicks off with some interesting vocals from Depp and a lead vocal from Henricksen, who sounds a lot like Cooper, which makes an easy transition when Alice takes over the lead on the track.  The song has a killer groove and cadence.  The rhythm section anchors the track perfectly; the song is one of my favorites sonically on the disc.  “A Pitiful Beauty” takes us on an instrumental journey and leads to “New Threat.”  This song comes charging at you from the first note and features on of the best Cooper vocals on the disc.  The song has all the elements of a song that was built for the stage – the tempo will get heads banging, the contagious chorus will get people singing, and the guitar parts will get hands all over the place throwing horns in the air.  “We Gotta Rise” opens with an interesting intro, but soon morphs into a cool rocker that has anthemic feel to it.  I see this as a killer recorded intro to any Hollywood Vampire show or outro that allows the crowd to experience one more track as they exit a venue.

“How The Glass Fell” is a musical interlude that takes us right into one of the more fun tracks on the disc, “The Boogieman Surprise.”  The lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and perfectly delivered by Cooper.  The chorus is layered perfectly with vocals and some killer guitar riffs, pings, and squeals.  The use of keyboards to help transition from chorus to verse and back again add depth to the song.  Be sure to hang out long enough to hear the guitars on the bridge.  “The Wrong Bandage” is another instrumental that helps transition to a Joe Perry vocal on the classic rocker “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory.”  While the band sounds different than the original, the spirit and melody are there and this version is as good (IMO) as the original.  Having listened to Perry’s catalog and his voice, he is the best match in this band for this track.  “Heroes” is one of my favorite Bowie tunes of all time and was weary of hearing this version.  I was crazy to have doubted the bands effort.  The lead vocal from Depp is amazing and keeps the song from becoming a bad cover.  The guitar work from Perry on this one is killer and helps carry the musical accompaniment in the mix under the vocal.  I have listened to this one time and time and again and cannot find fault with it – this is perfection in my opinion.  “Mr. Spider” is a different track that plays on the vocals of Cooper and swirls in some great guitar parts and a throwback sound that takes us back to rock music of the 70’s (this could have been ripped from any of the Cooper releases from that period).  The song takes a mellower approach and slows the tempo down, but do not mistake this for a lessening of the rock quotient… this is a cool rocker that adds depth to the collection and shows the bands diversity.  “People Who Died” is a great cover from the Jim Carroll Band.  The band takes this one for a spin that has a great lead vocal sound that helps guide the track and gives the band room to run with their respective instruments, coming together to create a great musical nod to Carroll.  Disc closer “Congratulations” is the oddest track on the disc, but doesn’t detract from the other tracks.  The musical accompaniment is a cool acoustic track that supports the spoken word perfectly, but still seems slightly out of place with the rest of the track.  I can’t believe I doubted this release at all before hearing it… one of my favorites of the year so far!

Tracklisting: I Want My Now – Good People Are Hard To Find – Who’s Laughing Now – How The Glass Fell – The Boogieman Surprise – Welcome To Bushwackers (feat. Jeff Beck & John Waters) – The Wrong Bandage – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory – Git From Round Me – Heroes – A Pitiful Beauty – New Threat – Mr. Spider – We Gotta Rise – People Who Died – Congratulations






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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