Glam/Sleaze/Hair Metal Roundup: Speed Stroke + Suicide Bombers + De La Cruz + LA Guns

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Reviews by Brian McGowan

Call it what you will – Sleaze / Glam Rock / Hair Metal / Bandana Rock – that eighties’ sound is most definitely resurgent, with albums released recently from bands old and new, with varying degrees of success. Here are four of the latest releases:

  • Speed Stroke
  • Suicide Bombers – Criminal Record
  • De La Cruz – Street Level
  • LA Guns – Tango On Sunset

Speed Stroke

Buil2kill Records

Italy’s Speed Stroke write a good rock song, so much so they’ve written it 12 times here. Sounding much like a cobbled together assemblage of Angels / Motley Crue / Ratt spare parts, scavenged from the cutting room floors of studios scattered across the western world, this debut self evidently fails to deliver anything new. It doesn’t lack passion or enthusiasm, indeed it lacks not for ambition or musicianship, but what’s missing are truly outstanding songs and a producer to provide direction. Sadly, the album is underwritten and overdone. More is not more. Next time perhaps.

Speed Stroke 20133 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Sick Of You
  2. Nothings True
  3. Lookin Down
  4. Burning Heart
  5. Out Of the Pen
  6. One Day Is Enough
  7. Trust Me
  8. Shine
  9. Age Of Rock’n’Roll
  10. Flesh&Nerve
  11. Speed Strokes Of Fire
  12. The Hunt

 


 

Suicide Bombers – Criminal Record

Independently released

This is cheesy, cliched and corny. I love it. Like lots of new bands in the Glam / Sleaze / Hair Metal genre, The Suicide Bombers’ influences are writ large, in heart-shape dayglo fluorescence, up and down their sleeves; Kiss, Crue, Poison etc. etc… Unlike a lot of new bands in the Glam / Sleaze / Popmetal scene, Suicide Bombers write knowing, genre centric songs that sound halfway original. ‘Easy Access’ and ‘Napalm Heart’ are absolute peaches. All the ingredients are there to ape their heroes, and they affect the glitzy, larger than life OTT attitood, but clearly, their star spangled stack heels are firmly planted in the certainty of great tunes and sharp hooks. Watch out for stomping glam throwbacks ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ and ’Bombers En Vogue’ (snigger). Both are powerful, melodic (if overlong) pieces of music making – you can hear Alice Cooper’s garage rock beginnings here. One to watch. Unequivocally.

Suicide Bombers 20137 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Trailer: History Is About To Begin
  2. Let’s Rock’N’Roll
  3. Easy Access
  4. Napalm Heart
  5. This Time Tomorrow
  6. Smoke & Mirrors
  7. High On Explosives
  8. Electric Fire
  9. Bombers En Vogue
  10. Teenage Breakdown
  11. Cindy
  12. Princess Socialite
  13. Riot
  14. Outro: Over & Out!

 

De La Cruz – Street Level

Frontiers Records

De La Cruz tread the same well worn path. Strongly influenced by Guns’n’Roses and, er… Guns’n’Roses, this Oz band have little new to offer, sounding much like they recorded this album on a conference call.

The music – trite, repetitive and unnecessarily strident – suffers from overexposure to LA Rock / Hair Metal. They’ve grasped the essentials but missed the point, delivering a largely predictable album of pantomime rock, where convention abounds and everybody knows the plot. Frontiers’ Records have been branching out recently, releasing the Crazy Lixx and the truly outstanding Crashdiet albums, but here the Quality Control dept have let them down. A glimmer of hope – and maybe this is what the Frontiers’ team heard – comes in the form of ’Turn It Up’, and ‘Dreaming’, pumped up arena rock anthems both, but more particularly ’Legion Of Love’ and ‘Gimme Love’ which show some reshaping, musically if not lyrically, of an overused template, sneaking envious sidelong glances at the memorable melodic rock of Autograph and Def Leppard.

Dela Cruz - Street Level 20134 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Street Level
  2. Girls Go Wild
  3. Turn It Up
  4. Legions Of Love
  5. Gimme Love
  6. Cherry Bomb
  7. Dreaming
  8. Invincible
  9. Worlds Collide
  10. SEX
  11. Set The Night
  12. Shine

 

LA Guns – Tango On Sunset Strip

Collectors Dream Records

On this retitled reissue of last year’s Hollywood Forever release, the ‘Guns continue to carry the torch for punky, in your face hard rock, performing with such vigorous, animal intensity that you can‘t fail to be moved. They are the rock vampires of Sunset Strip, lurking in the shadows, concocting songs that skilfully combine a raw, emotional urgency with a cold eyed resignation. Most notably here, ‘Underneath The Sun‘ and ‘Sweet Mystery‘.

Tracii Guns has bailed of course, with this guitar role more than ably fulfilled by Stacey Blades (who has now also left the band). Blades and longtime vocalist Phil Lewis have written a bunch of well crafted songs here. Stories of twisted relationships and grim realism, which are, as usual, full of monochrome colouring, sinuous hooks and razoring axework. Other highlights are the gritty, menacing ‘Dirty Black Night’, the Neanderthal rock throwback, ’Queenie’ and ’Crazy Tango’, a dark and downbeat tale of love and lust.

For a band who survived the hedonistic, life shortening heights of eighties’ fame, a seen-it-all, done-it-all mindset would have been understandable, and if you detect an underlying trace of bitterness, then that would be understandable too. But the fact they are still going strong, writing and recording such great rock music might just be cause for quiet celebration.

LA Guns - Strip7.5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Hollywood Forever
  2. You Better Not Love Me
  3. Eel Pie
  4. Sweet Mystery
  5. Burn
  6. Vine St. Shimmy
  7. Dirty Black Night
  8. Underneath The Sun
  9. Queenie
  10. Crazy Tango
  11. Venus Bomb
  12. I Won’t Play
  13. Requiem (Hollywood Forever)
  14. Arana Negra (Black Spider)

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. The low scores tell me this isn’t your kinda music….De La Cruz is not a bad album, actually thought they did a great job at keeping the genre alive. Great vocalist with a powerhouse performance.

    • If you’d looked further you would have seen I gave the Crashdiet and St Prostitute releases a good review and high score. Both bands relatively within the same genre.
      It’s my kinda music when it’s done well.

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