Monday, April 02, 2007

Vains of Jenna-Lit up/let down, 2006

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Vains of Jenna are from Sweden and formed around early 2005. They quickly caught the attention of the Metal Sludge website and that's where I first heard of them. Tuff vocalist and Metal Sludge head honcho Stevie Rachelle is now their manager. As a result the band relocated to LA and released this album in the fall. They are receiving quite a bit of hype in some circles. So I will cut to the chase and say that I like this album and it's good. There are some problems and concerns though. What I like about it is that it's fairly raw sleaze glam that at times reminds me of Guns and Roses, Faster Pussycat, Hanoi Rocks and a somewhat obscure band called Star Star. I like the raspy vocals of Lizzy Devine quite a bit. The band is fairly adept at handling different paced songs and their slow songs are just as strong as the faster ones. That's the good so here's the other side of the coin. Let's get what isn't their fault out of the way first. That is the thin production that drags this down a little. Vocals are fine and maybe the drums are okay at times, but overall the mix is very muddy and the guitar suffers from this. Crank it up because we want to hear it and this kind of music needs a sharp production. Also I felt like at times they lacked the hooks of the big league bands of yesterday. Along similar lines is the fact that maybe they didn't have enough of their own sound here. Most younger glam bands that pop up today suffer from this last problem. Is it unfair or unreasonable of me to expect more originality? I don't think so because I don't believe everything has been done and I also don't want to believe that glam is dead. I want to believe that there is a scene ready to happen and there are bands out there that are going to put out albums that are going to floor me. Now I certainly don't think Vains of Jenna deserve any glam crown at this point because they have a lot to prove. Yet there are three reasons why I think this band could yet be something great.
1)I think having Stevie Rachelle as a manager is a good thing. He runs a major website and he knows the business both good and bad.
2)They undoubtedly have some energy as evidenced by parts of their album.
3)They are very young and there is still plenty of time for them to grow. I take into account the fact this album recorded after the band had been together for just over a year.

Here would be my advice to this band.
1)In the words of Dee Snider "Stay Hungry", keep clawing and pushing ahead.
2)Don't buy into your own hype, you are not there yet.
3)Don't be afraid to put your own ideas in. You don't have to just be a copycat band.
This is a ten track album, but the last two songs are acoustic versions of previous tracks. They are not the saviors of glam yet and maybe they won't be yet I would recommend it for fans of late 1980's to early 1990's glam metal.


Blogger David Amulet said...

Never heard of the group ... but I like what you write about it. A glam comeback?!? Things could be worse.

-- david

2:59 AM  
Blogger aXe mAn said...

Great Review. I have never heard the band before. But, I have heard of them. I might have to check them out. I am a fan of Stevie Rachelle & Tuff, so they might be pretty good.
So, let's all continue our efforts to BRING BACK GLAM!
(that is what Vains Of Jenna is doing!)

6:45 AM  
Blogger RockDog said...

I've heard good things about them and after reading this I will probably pick up their CD.

One thing I hate is when new bands release a CD with two versions of the same song. There's no reason for a new band to have an regular and an acoustic version on the same CD.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Allyson said...

I have so much to say here.
Overall, I agree with your review.
I think the boys in VOJ did a good job with their first effort, considering most of the album was self-produced in a cabin in seven days.
I can assume the band members didn't know what they were doing when producing this disc, yet the talent is undeniable considering the short time they've been a unit.

Does VOJ deserve a glam crown? Yes and no. Yes, for attempting to break big with a genre of music that isn't as popular anymore (I mean, it's hard to compete with Nelly). No, because they are not as good as their direct contemporaries, CrashDiet. Then again, CrashDiet is on a major label and enjoyed a highly produced debut effort.

Honestly, I "was" floored by Lit Up/Lit Down and that's saying a lot. I don't really care for a lot of new music, but I count this disc among my favorites and I try to see VOJ live every time they stop somewhere in Ohio.

VOJ are a great live band. I was way too young to see Guns n Roses perform live during their club days, so I would imagine these early VOJ shows are likely early Hollywood Rose gigs.

My two (and a half cents).

I've written about VOJ extensively, head to my website if you'd like to learn more about these very hot boys.

11:28 AM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

I agree with you, about originality. You can sound like a particular style and still have your own style, something fresh. That's been the problem with the European power/speed metal market. Over stauration of copycat bands.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous James Galway said...

Good review.. It makes me feel that the group will be good. Never heard it...

11:59 PM  

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