Reckless Love – Spirit

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Review by Brian McGowan

Spinefarm Records

Hair Metal ultimately passed its sell by date, and was pushed underground. But wheels turn and bandwagons move on. On the evidence of Spirit, the genre has evolved and emerged as the acceptable face of melodic rock, unthreatening (it never was), full of sharp songwriting and coated (in many places, in varying thickness) with a glittery sheen of sophistication. Reckless Love‘s first two albums, Reckless Love and Animal Attraction, plundered the past with skill and delivered the result with a shrug and a wink. A sense of irony permeated the songs. You know what we are doing. And we know you know. With Spirit they’ve stripped away that protective coating and added considerable invention. The music has to stand or fall on its own merits now, and not because it “sounds like Def Leppard”, though often it does, or because it “recalls Kiss”, though often it does, but because it has tapped into the rock’n’roll consciousness. Essentially, what all great rock bands do.

That said, songs like ‘I Love Heavy Metal’ and ‘Metal Ass’ are real errors of judgement, fatal attempts at recreating the inane fluff of the past. Why? Because the inanities of the past have no appeal in the present. And perhaps moreso because they tend to tarnish the truly great Glam / Hair Metal rock songs that surround them. And there are many. ‘Dying To Live’ and ‘Edge Of Our Dreams’ illuminate the fundamental appeal of the genre – they are memorably melodic, they’re driven by metallised rock riffs and resolve in uplifting hooks, and for all their throwaway titles, at their heart they are weighted with emotion and meaning.

Close behind, the anthemic ‘Night On Fire’ and ‘Sex, Drugs And Reckless Love’ flirt with contemporary production techniques – the occasional, microsecond burst of processed vocals is mainlined into the songs’ bloodstream, as they freewheel toward a climactic coda. Elsewhere, the quiet grandeur of ‘Runaway Love’ and, at the other end of the spectrum, ’Favorite Flavor’s splendid re-enactment of eighties’ goodtime rock are sparkling highlights, drawing a neat distinction between timeless melodic rock and revivalism.

No sign of third album burnout here.

Reckless Love - Spirit8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Night On Fire
  2. Bad Lovin’
  3. I Love Heavy Metal
  4. Favorite Flavor
  5. Edge Of Our Dreams
  6. Sex, Drugs & Reckless Love
  7. Dying To Live
  8. Metal Ass
  9. Runaway Love
  10. So Happy I Could Die
  11. Hot Rain
  12. Die Hard (U.K. bonus track)