Santa Cruz – Screaming For Adrenaline

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Review by Brian McGowan

Spinefarm Records

Just when it looked like Santa Cruz’s 2012 EP Anthems For The Young And Restless would be consigned to cultdom, it got noticed by Spinefarm/Universal A&R legend, Dante Bonutto. The result of this promising relationship is the first full length studio album from one of the brightest news stars on the Melodic/ Glamrock horizon, Screaming For Adrenaline, with 8 new tracks and 3 re-recorded from the Anthems’ EP. The druggy allusion in the album’s title is clearly designed to grab your attention. Image is everything. But the “sex, drugs n’ rock ’n roll” pretence that is so prevalent nowadays, that apparent impulse towards transgression, now has an easily seen through transparency. And anyway, once you get to the songs, the notion becomes largely irrelevant. Given the band’s image, it’s interesting that their music is rooted not just in the groundbreaking rock of Guns ‘n‘ Roses but in the music of the bands who influenced Axl, Slash et al in the first place. You can hear Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper and The Ramones’ in the title track alone, a massive garage/punk/hard rock explosion, punching a ragged hole in the fabric of glam rock convention. Thereafter the formula is pursued with single minded intensity, turning Screaming… into a collection of four-minute incendiary devices, a sensory overload of jagged rock nuggets, brimful of squalling guitars, gang vocals and stomping choruses. ‘Loving You’ and ’Aiming High’ captures the best of Brit Glamrock. Full of energy and adventure, echoing those heady days before it ran out of dreams and direction.

Album highlight, arguably, ‘Nothing Compares To You’ (not that one) stands up to G’n’R’s finest moments, capturing that band’s sense of restlessness and rebellion with laser guide accuracy. Yet, on the same album, the easy-to-mock ‘Relentless Renegades’ sounds so phoney (is it meant to be ironic?), that the two songs could be examples of conflicting political philosophies. It’s the only low point in an album stuffed with highs. Elsewhere, the Stonesy ‘Anthem For The Young And Restless’, and ’High On You’ – a pounding, anthemic rock song with a Bo Diddley beat and an upwardly spiralling hook, jostle for a place among the album’s killer cuts. Santa Cruz could easily be the Next Big Thing, at least in the limited world of rock’n’roll. The fact that they’ve got major label backing could make all the difference.

Santa Cruz8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Screaming For Adrenaline
  2. Anthem For The Young And Restless
  3. Relentless Renegades
  4. Sweet Sensation
  5. Nothing Compares To You
  6. High On You
  7. Get The Party Started
  8. Alive
  9. Loving You
  10. Aiming High
  11. Let Me Lay My Love On You