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Label: El Puerto Records GbR

Release Date: July 3, 2020

Rating: 90%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Maryann Cotton is one of those performers that has always been on my radar, but I have never sat down and absorbed one of his albums that way I have the most recent upcoming release Hallelujah.  Let me say, this album hits with me due to its sound and feel, but mostly because of its nod to one of MC’s influences Alice Cooper.  Disc opener and title track “Hallelujah” opens things with a sound vibe that takes me back to early Cooper music, be it the grandiose sound of the Welcome To My Nightmare album or the “Hello Hooray” single.  The vocals are strong, especially when the layered bits hit the chorus.  The bass heavy sound in the mix gives the track and disc depth.  The song opens the door on this eight track disc and helps you settle in for the next 30+ minutes.  “Night In California” is a great track from open to close that allows Cotton to show off his rock vocal chops.  The rhythm section is solid and the guitar riffs chug along in the mix.  This is another track that sounds as if it could have been ripped from an early to mid 70’s album.  The cadence from the drums and bass get the foot tapping while the guitar on the bridge brings out the air guitarist in all of us.  “White Pearl” is a heavier vibe all together, from the heavy bottom end, to the vocals that dig deep for the gravel, and the lyrics that dive deep.  The piano interlude that tangles with the guitars in the mix is a great sound that keeps the mood tied to the rest of the disc, even when the sound seems to be slightly darker.  “Eternal Love Forever” is a solid track, despite it being a ballad.  The vibe of the track blends well with the other songs on the disc, with a big sound at the chorus that takes on a larger than life feel while the sonic ebb and flow of the track gives you the emotional charge behind the lyrics.  The orchestration and production of the track keeps this one in line with the other more grandiose tunes.

Lead single “I’m Your Saint” is a great track that drags along the same Cooper vibe from the other tracks, but Maryann really channeled his inner Alice for the vocals.  The swirl of guitars, bass, and keyboards in the mix is a great touch that lends itself to a wall of sound feel that takes the song to the next level.  The bridge and transition has a different dynamic to it that helps separate this track from others on the disc.  “Those Things To Come” kicks off with a cool stripped back sound, that once again leans into Maryann’s influences from the early Cooper catalog.  The vocals are spot on for the musical accompaniment of the track.  The bass riffs woven into the track from Patino add a little punch here and there, while the drums keep the track steady and the guitars bulk up the choruses.  “Take Me Home (Delilah)” is a contagious track that has an killer groove, especially on the chorus and bridge.  The verse and transitions are very Cooperesque and add dimension to the songs construction.  Cotton’s vocals are a lot alike the other tracks here, but there seems to be a bit of variation woven into the songs sound and the lyrics’ delivery.  Disc closer, the eight minute opus “My Own Way,” is another track that keeps things light and seems to swirl a few different moods and sounds together.  There are hints of arena rock and ballad swirled in the storytelling.  This track demonstrates how well Maryann Cotton has taken a formula that has been perfected and added his own little stamp to it.  Let’s be honest, if you are going to emulate a rock God, you could do A LOT worse than Alice Cooper.

Tracklisting: Hallelujah – Night In California – I’m Your Saint – White Pearl – Those Things To Come – Eternal Love Forever – Take Me Home (Delilah) – My Own Way

Lineup: Maryann Cotton (vocals) – Sebastian Sly (guitars) – Hal Patino (bass) – Shawn Kernon (drums)






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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