Classic Rock’s New Release Round-Up
This week on the Classic Rock website we look at the latest stuff in the shops from To-Mera – a fantastic new EP from the progressive metallers titled Earthbound – and Lita Ford’s Wicked Wonderland, an album the ex-Runaway describes as a “sexual autobiography”. Plus burgeoning glam rockers Dirty Penny are back in the spotlight with Young & Reckless; Van der Graaf Generator release yet another live CD, Live At The Paradiso; cult 1970s US rockers Trigger get the reissue treatment; and Ace Frehley makes a praiseworthy platform-booted comeback with Anomaly.
Classic Rock progressive metal faves To-Mera are back with a brand new EP, titled Earthbound. After their full-length masterpiece Delusions (2008) the band have parted company with Candlelight Records and recruited two new members: Richard Henshall (keyboards) and Mark Harrington (bass). The EP features four tracks – Mesmerised, Earthbound, Arcane Solace and Another World – and throughout To-Mera sound more gritty and hard-edged than before. On first listen, they also appear to have reined back slightly on their patented jazz-tastic musical twists’n’turns, possibly in an attempt to appeal to the ‘mainstream’ goth metal market. It’s still damn good stuff, however, and Julie Kiss remains one of the most idiosyncratic and compelling femme vocalists around. For more info go to www.to-mera.com or www.myspace.com/tomeraband.
Lita Ford gets our award for the most bonkers new album of the year so far. Wicked Wonderland, the former Runaway’s comeback, is, Lita says, a “sort of sexual autobiography” of her union with ex-Nitro singer Jim Gillette. “Though we’re a long-married couple, we both have very active imaginations, including being kinky with each other, and that’s what this album’s about.” Great! A sort of MILF concept album! All of which would be very amusing were the music not so hackneyed; an enthusiastic but guileless rehash of mid-90s industrial metal.
If you’ve got a copy of the latest issue of Classic Rock, you’ll probably have noticed that we recommended Dirty Penny’s 2007 album Take It Sleezy in our ‘Glam Rock For Connoisseurs’ splurge. Well, Tyno Vincent, Binge Daniels, Spanky Savage and Jonny Prynce are back with a newie, Young & Reckless. This showcases a more mature, less overtly Crüe-obsessed side to the band, although there are still some great rambunctious glamthems such as If I Were You I’d Hate Me Too (dig that Ugly Kid Joe-type title), Dead At 16 and Crash & Burn. Recommended. Go to DirtyPennySucks.com for more.
Van der Graaf Generator’s latest live album, Live At The Paradiso, was recorded in Amsterdam in April 2007. After the much-trumpeted reunion of the classic line-up (Peter Hammill, High Banton, David Jackson and Guy Evans) it sees them reduced to a three-piece following the still-mysterious departure of saxophonist/flautist Jackson. Without Jackson’s signature parps (to many a quintessential element of their sound) the angst-fuelled trio sound much more cynical and abrasive. In typically perverse fashion VdGG eschew the ‘hits’ (Killers, Darkness 11/11, Refugees) and embark on a mission to drain the listener of emotion: the triumvirate of Meurglys III (The Songwriter’s Guild), The Sleepwalkers and Man-Erg will leave you a hollowed-out husk. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Fans of cult 1970s American rock’n'roll rejoice! Rock Candy’s hotly anticipated re-release of the self-titled Trigger album is finally in the shops. The sleeve-notes say it all: ‘A near masterpiece of triumphant, shout-it-out-loud rock.’ Yes indeed, every track on this 1978 nugget is a winner – Usain Bolt style. The hyper-memorable, hard-edged pop of Somebody Like You; the deliciously unsubtle Deadly Weapon; the chiming commerciality of I’ve Heard That Line Before; the reach-for-the-sky spirit We’re Gonna Make It… this is like Starz’s Violation in a head-on collision with Kiss’s Rock And Roll Over.
Finally, can we just say how much we’re lovin’ former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley’s new album, Anomaly? (Whisper it, but some of us here in the office reckon it’s better than Kiss’s latest, Sonic Boom.) You can check out Ace’s top-notch cover version of Sweet’s Fox On The Run on the CD free with the latest edition of Classic Rock. Another one of Ace’s new songs that’s floating our boat – and one that we strangely didn’t mention in our CR review – is A Little Below The Angels; really digging those kiddiewink vocals. (Not from Ace, from actual kiddiewinks – the backing singers include the guitarist’s daughter, Monique.) We’re also unfeasibly keen on the Strutter-some Too Many Faces, together with its chorus: ‘Too many faces in the mirror/Looking back, back at me.’ Hmm. What could Ace possibly mean?
– Geoff Barton and Jon Hotten