Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saints of the underground-Love the sin, hate the sinner


I’ll don’t like Warrant, I never have and I doubt that I ever will. Whew, I am glad to get that off my chest so I can start this review. Now I have liked Warrant and I always Jani Lane was a particularly bland vocalist. Yet I never knew if he himself was bland or if it was just the material. When I saw this “supergroup” of sorts coming out with a release I decided to give it a shot. Joining the Warrant frontman are Ratt members drummer Bobby Blotzer, bassist Robbie Crane and Keri Kelli (of Alice Cooper’s band and others). My thoughts before playing this were that Lane was either going to sink it with some lifeless vocals or he was going to rise to a level he had never previously achieved and carry this album with him. Actually it’s not 100% either of those choices, but most surprisingly this album leans towards that second category. Like a number of other 80’s hard rock singers (Joe LeSte, Jamie St. James) Jani Lane’s voice has gotten deeper with age. However unlike those other guys it seems to have helped Mr. Lane form some much needed grit in his vocal delivery instead of the syrupy approach he used far in the late 80's-early 90's. In addition to the tone of voice Jani also seems much more comfortable with the material than he did back he going on about cherry pies and wherever it was that the Down Boys were going to. The music is hard rock with some power pop and plain rock undertones and on several tracks they remind me of Cheap Trick. I think the fact that the two guys in the rhythm section have played together for about a decade is obvious in the sound and it’s a major plus. I also was greatly relieved that they avoided the overdone, sickeningly repetitive choruses that so much defined Warrant. Now the tracks aren’t anything new by any stretch of anyone’s imagination, but they are decent and everyone involved sounds comfortable. My initial guess on this project was that it would be a real dud like Contraband (anyone remember them?). However perhaps it’s experience or perhaps it’s the fact that they are doing songs they like instead of doing strictly to try and land a hit single, no matter what the motivation this is a decent album. There are two cover songs with as they deliver a solid version of Tom Petty's American Girl which is a fine fit for Jani's voice. They also cover the Stones' Moonlight Mile, but they seem a little more hesitant to put their own brand on it and it's just alright as a result. Some of the best tracks were "Exit", "Dead Man's Shoes" and the very Thin Lizzy-esque Jimmy. This album doesn't change the history of those involved, but unlike a number of other 80's hard rockers everyone involved here can claim to have been part of a pretty good album.


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Blogger DPTH International said...

Sounds interesting. I have always enjoyed Warrant, in part due to my growing up mostly with the later half of the "Hair" band era.

I'll have to check this album out.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Hard Rock Hideout said...

GMTA...I reviewed this at HRH today too!

Rob Rockitt
Hard Rock Hideout

9:57 AM  
Blogger BeckEye said...

I actually always liked Jani's voice when I was younger. Of course, he still looks like a frog.

I had a weird, icky crush on Bobby Blotzer for about 5 minutes.

4:24 PM  

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