Category Archives: SONIC WAVES…Album Reviews

Occasionally I will throw down some reviews of albums that I thought were and still are cool to me…..hope you likey!

Honeymoon Suite: The Big Prize(1985)

Sliding in the door
Are the roads we all know
Yesterday’s heroes with no room to grow
You say you want the money
You want the Big Prize
But they’ll cut you
Down to size, with your…..

Here come those fellow fun-loving   Canucks known as Honeymoon Suite dropping down a pretty serious slab of vinyl in the form of The Big Prize back in the good old year of 1985!

The Big Prize was the followup to the self-titled debut from 1984 and was a significant step up to my ears that is. The songwriting and mainly the production courtesy of the Late Great Bruce Fairbairn and his mixing engineer sidekick Bob Rock.

The debut wasn’t bad. Had some decent songs (New Girl Now/Funny Business) and some silliness (Wave Babies) but overall not bad. Where they won me over is when they opened for Helix in front of 3-4000 people here in Tbay back in the summer of 1985!

Hell at this show it was not only myself but along for the ride was Tbone and his brothers in tow Dar and Rugg!

So for that, Honeymoon Suite got a pass so when The Big Prize dropped into the record shops in the fall of 1985 it wasn’t too long before dEke’s/Tbone and many others in  Canada and even the U.S scooped up wanting the Big Prize!

Honeymoon Suite succeeded on many fronts the packaging and the presentation of the album wasn’t the norm at the time. Definitely not metal looking but still kinda a slick concept if I don’t say so myself!

The Big Prize opens with Bad Attitude. A great ass kicker in the Hard AOR Department if anything. High tempo as well and Honeymoon on this album had 3 aces up there sleeve that being Guitarist Derry Grehan/Lead Singer Johnnie Dee and Keyboardist Ray Coburn who all contributed material. (especially Grehan who wrote 7 of the bands 10 songs on the album)

The sonics are superb on this album as this is the record previous to Fairbairn and Rock applying their talents on the mega-selling Slippery When Wet album by Bon Jovi a  year later in 1986!

You know by working with a guy like Fairbairn in the hard rock circles there would be a few singles along the way. Honeymoon Suite went 4 singles deep with Bad Attitude/All Along You Knew/ What Does It Take and Feel It Again,

This was a smart move on whoever’s decision it was to release the singles. 3 solid rock tracks along with the typical kinda power ballad that was really becoming mandatory in the mid to late ’80s!

With the four pack of singles mentioned about 3 are excellent choices with the already mentioned Bad Attitude. All Along You Knew which features Mikey Ladano’s homeboy Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) on flute which is a significant track none the less. What Does It Take is the power ballad and is ok. Not really my bag as I want hard rock driving tracks but I get it. Honeymoon had to crossover to get the Ladies!

Feel It Again written by keyboard fella Ray Coburn is the bonafide winner in the singles that were released on this album.  It went to number 16 on the Canadian Singles Chart and charted at number 34 on the Billboard Singles Chart in the U.S!

Feel It Again is a fantastic written track. Derry plays some sweet licks on the 6 string while Dee delivers an impressive vocal as the chorus is the real money shot with Coburn driving what sounds like a Hammond organ at times! Perfect as in sweet Ear Candy! The video is goofy, but the song is gold!

Honeymoon Suite was a band on a good roll as back in the day they released a string of solid albums from the Debut in 1984. The Big Prize(85) Racing After Midnight( my fav of there’s from 1988) and the very underrated Monsters Under The Bed(1991).

Honeymoon Suite is still going today as the current lineup including drummer Dave Betts and bassist Gary Lalonde is intact. Coburn though is a no show in the present incarnation.

The Big Prize is a solid piece of hard rock! Good time listen harkening back to a simpler time!

Long Live The 80’s!

 

 

 

 

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The Cult:Pure Cult: The Singles 1984-1995

 

 

Man, I do love The Cult! I was psyched to score this vinyl copy of Pure Cult: The Singles1984-1995 a few months back as getting The Cults stuff on vinyl is kinda tricky, but here it is!

19 song’s spread out over double vinyl this is an excellent representation of all the Cults material from the debut Love album to the self-titled 1994 release.

The main characters in The Cult that being Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy have been on all 19 tracks whereas check out the pic posted below of the various members that have come and gone with Wolfchild and Duffy throughout the years!

In some of my previous Cult reviews, I have always stated that The Cult has never made the same record twice or it seems that way.

1984’s Dreamtime sounded gothy yet had a rock vibe to it as did 1985’s LOVE release that mixed more of that goth that streamlined there sound a little more on the singles side.

By 1987 the gloves were off for Electric which was basically the Cult delivering us a rough n tumble album of classic tunes that just ripped through from track to track like a locomotive with no brakes! (Electric is one of my all time favs) Electric could have been easily called  the ‘No Fuckin Around” album

1989 The Cult once again shift gears and take us to the Sonic Temple which is a foot in the door of Big Arena Rock with more bombastic riffs of brilliance from the guitar of Billy Duffy while Ian writes the lyrics to Billys music, and they slam out yet another masterpiece!

The Ceremony album from 1991 is probably as close to a repeat in the production angle of Sonic Temple if anything. I’m sure the suits were pushing Ian and Billy for a Sonic Temple sequel, but of course, they quashed that quicker than Ladano clicking the order button at CD Japan’s Online Store!

 

3 years later The Cult gets off the polished Arena Rock Highway and put out the very crafty self-titled Cult album in 1994. Over time this album has become one of my fav’s in the catalog of great Cult Rock! A totally different sound by a band not playing it safe!

As you all know, I’m not big on Greatest Hits comps, and when this came out on CD I passed as I have them on CD already but not on vinyl so, Score one for Deke!

I like the running order of this as it’s like one big smorgasbord of Cult Rock as all the songs are mixed up which is what I like.

The inside is a gatefold sleeve which has a little bit history of each album as well as the songs listed give you all the dates these tracks were issued as singles which is nice little throwback!

The Cult could mix some straight-ahead rock singles like Fire Woman/Wild Hearted Son/Love Removal Machine/Sun King yet they could pull back the reigns with tracks like Edie/Heart and Soul/Revolution.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m thrilled to see that 94 album with Star/Coming Down and In The Clouds being represented.

See that what makes The Cult great. If the album didn’t sell millions, Ian and Billy still have the balls to acknowledge it and not bury it! Totally respect these guys for doing it the right way!

LONG LIVE WOLFCHILD & MR DUFFY

 

 

U.F.O: Making Contact (1983)

1983 and here come’s UFO with a new album in tow and a young Deke’s at the time (16 years old) ready to pick it up as I had loved 1982’s Mechanix release!

But upon my first inspection of the back cover of this album is something or someone is missing! That’s right folk’s Bassist Pete  Way is gone or in UFO lingo “Long Gone”

Ah WHUT?

Yup. No sign of Pete or his long-necked Gibson Thunderbird Bass! Instead its a live shot of what’s left of UFO that being Phil Mogg/Andy Parker/Neil Carter and Paul Chapman!

Pete left UFO didn’t like the direction the band was headed into.

So Pete hooked up with Fast Eddie(Motorhead RIP) and formed Fastway(brilliant name), but Pete left that act quickly than joined Ozzy’s band for about a week(ha) before Pete decided to create his own group Waysted(another brilliant band name) later that week!

So in the meantime…

So what does UFO do? Well, they keep it in-house as Neil and Paul did all the Bass on the studio tracks to keep the UFO boat afloat!

I will add that the first three tracks on this album Blinded By A Lie/Diesel in the Dust/A Fool For Love are brilliant!

UFO somewhat got with the times in regards to the sound of the early ’80s but I will add that the chorus off Blinded by a Lie is simply F’in brilliant! Money Shot.

Neil Carter basically saves this album from hitting the wall. Neil stepped up and co-wrote 9 songs with Mogg while Chapman chipped in with a couple of co-writes himself!

Another brilliant track on Making Contact is Side 2 opener The Way The Wild Wind Blows. UFO always In my humble opinion knew how to mix the Keyboards and Guitars exceptionally well without going into that whole Journey Jon Cain Sap Trap that ruled the airwaves in the ’80s! Nope UFO did have Keys but Neil Carter knew what the role was and would let the guitars rock when they needed to rock!

Considering what was going on around in UFO at the time it’s incredible this album was actually made.

Kudos to Carter/Moog and Chapman for getting it done in the studio but the tour promoting this album was a mess as UFO hired 4 stringer wanker Rando from some obscure band from Buffalo called Talas? Anyone heard of them?

The wrong dude to be playing flash n dash Bass in the sound of a group that had a no-frills but keep a simple bass player in Way!

Too bad as this band self-destructed on some stage in Poland I believe and that was that for this incarnation.

Chapman joined up with Pete in Waysted. Carter went off and joined Gary Moores band and as he said: “finally started seeing some money!”

Mogg chilled out for a bit but resurrected UFO with Paul Raymond RIP(who Neil had replaced in UFO) in 1985 and continued UFO until this year when they announced a farewell tour as Moog is 70 years young!

Making Contact is nowhere near the best UFO album, but there are some brilliant tracks worth hearing. While the album does lag a bit at times, give them credit for picking up their bootstraps and getting out there and doing it one last time!

Update: I had written this review a little ways back, and Keyboard/Guitarist Paul Raymond has since passed away! Since UFO is on its Farewell Tour and wanted to continue, they have recruited Neil Carter to finish out the tour which to me is a great move! 

Krokus: One Vice at a Time(1982)

 

 

“Meet a million people
Tell me what to do
All the slimy leeches…yuk!
Make me feel so blue
But the booze in the bus
Hot legs round the neck
State to state coast to coast
Hey guys! I’ll be back…”

Here comes those wacky Swiss Dudes Krokus who back in 1982 dropped one hell of a punch in the form of One Vice at a Time!

I first heard the name Krokus back in 1981 when my pal Muc had gotten ahold of the Krokus album Metal Rendevous which featured the classic HeatStrokes tune.

It was pretty apparent that the lead vocals of Marc Storace sounded quite a bit like Bon Scott(RIP) of AC/DC.  So it was a no brainer purchase when Krokus released One Vice at a Time!

Krokus along with co-producer Tony Platt(AC/DC’s mixing engineer) lay down the boom on the albums 9 tracks one in which a cover of American Woman by those dudes known as The Guess Who.

If you’re looking for any kind of power ballad on here forget about it. This album is recorded roughly around the edges. The guitars are raw sounding basically a dry recording not an overproduced album by any stretch of the imagination. When you have a drummer that goes by the name of Freddy Steady(I shit you not) you know the beat is going to be in the pocket

Ok, I’ll say it.  AC/DC sounding! But…

Krokus sings for there supper about the not so glamorous side of life on this album. Drugs/Hookers/Booze/More Drugs/More Hookers/More Booze make up this record which is off the rails crazy good!

Long Stick Goes Boom is a rocking opening number which hit’s between the eye’s and with that basically sets the table with a five and a half minute sledgehammer over the noggin!

That’s the thing with this album. The pace doesn’t let up! A ton of Angus n Malcolm guitar-like riffs is spread throughout this album, as the guitars of Mark Kohler and Fernando Von Arb sound like two buzz saw’s throughout the 36 minutes of pure old school rock.

Down The Drain that sets off, Side 2 sounds like an all-out jam tune that looks like it was tossed together in minutes, but that’s the thing that makes it sound so good on this album. Sounds intensely live like umm AC/DC!

Krokus does a fabulous booze-drenched version of American Woman which sleaze’s itself perfectly on Side 2!

I’m On The Run is the exciting song on here as the one, and only Bruce Dickinson who had just joined Iron Maiden sings backing vocals here. Give it a listen. Crank it below!

Save Me is another ripping track that features some classy street lyrics.

No chance for a first-class hooker
Can’t even buy my booze
They wanna bend me the way they need me
But I’m not bound to lose
Don’t want to get called up
I’m not gonna fight their wars
I’m a free man black stallion
Come to my door

Krokus man, yeah well they got a soft spot in my Metal Heart and why wouldn’t they?

Krokus had for me a real good 3 album run starting with One Vice At A Time followed by the classic Headhunter(1983) rounded off by the commercial hard rock The Blitz album in 1984!

One Vice at a Time? I’m thinking, many Vices at a time on this album!

I mean I loved the fact that these guys, especially on this album, just ripped out a bunch of tunes about the seedier side of life with a lot of kicking out the jams that found a spot on my turntable back in 1982 and once again in 2019!

 

April Wine:Nature of the Beast(1981)

April Wine hit Gold and Platinum in the US of A with Nature of the Beast back in 1981! No small feat for the band hailing from Montreal Canada!

This album was everywhere and my pal Muc was the first to snag this album as I was with him when he bought it at some point back in 81 as well!

For myself, it wasn’t until a few weeks back (May 2019) that I finally got myself a copy of Nature of the Beast! 38 years later! HA!

April Wine was a band that I had some stuff.  The live One More For The Road and Greatest Hits were two I owned that were released at some point back in the ’80s as well as back in 1985 I bought that horrendous Wine album ‘Walking Through Fire’ on cassette tape which when I think about it I was 18 and I Like To Rock! No such thing as that on that tape. I got burned!

But back when the Wine could rock they put out NOTB which has a ton of Hard Rock AOR stuff that grabs you the listener by the ear!

The pressure was on Myles Goodwyn to deliver a bunch of hard rock tracks for this being April Wines 9th album up to that point and Myles does indeed deliver with 10 of the 11 albums tracks coming from Goodwyn! Not only that but Goodwyn produced this album along with Mike Stone.

Opener All Over Town opens the album and is a sure firecracker of a winner! Myles, I will give him credit as he knows how to compose simple yet effective hard rock nuggets.

Caught in the Crossfire/Future Tense/Crash and Burn are winners on this album that fuse the hard rock trimmings that have the band firing on all four rock cylinders!

I liked the fact with the inside sleeve not only did you get the lyrics but they listed on each track who did the guitar solos since there were three guitar dudes in April Wine! Check out Future Tense below. I was always a sucker for that synthesizer like voice during the chorus of this tune. Kinda like Mr Roboto jacked up on roids!

The two biggie hits from NOTB were Just Between You and Me and Sign of the Gypsy Queen.

Just Between You and Me has to be the forerunner of the huge Power Ballad which every Hairspray Act coming out after 1981 adapted too, April Wine gets no credit and specifically Goodwyn who wrote the track in which this song lifts off right off the start with the guitar solo which is a brilliant songwriting move. Thinking outside the box moment if there ever was one!

Sign of the Gypsy Queen is the cover tune but everyone probably thinks it’s a Wine tune anyways! A great straight-ahead rocker that has a classic breakdown in the middle of the song and then ramps back up to speed into the snappy happy chorus!

Even though this was a good album I never understood the marketing of this band.  As right after the success of NOTB an album filled with rockers comes from the Suits at the company releasing  The Best of April Wine: The Rock Ballads. An album that I had no interest in whatsoever back in 81 as a 15-year-old or in 2019 as 51 year old for that matter.

Kudos to April Wine though as for this album they hit one out of the park. If you are to own an album by these guys this would be the one!

 

 

Aerosmith:Get Your Wings(1974)

 

I sure do love me the albums by a band with a ton of successful albums under there hat, but when you dig around in the back catalog, there is an album or two where the group is broke with no dough and just going for it.

Get Your Wings by Aerosmith is one of em!

1974 and after a year of touring behind 1973’s self-titled debut comes Aerosmith with the followup.

Get Your Wings has Steven Tyler composing 7 of the 8 tracks as he basically took the show over as Joe Perry co-wrote two tunes with Perry while drummer  Joey Kramer had a co-write(WHUT?)  with Tyler!

Steve-o turned up with a batch of fresh tunes, and when you spin this album, the sound on it is incredible. That warm fuzzy like recording where everything sounds Live!

Ah, man, some of these albums sonics from the ’70s can’t be replaced or duplicated!

Tyler/Perry right off the hop cooks up a fresh batch of rock in the form of Same Old Song and Dance. What an opening riff as well as a driving beat that doesn’t take the foot off the gas!

Tyler man always has been a great lyricist and Same Old.. proves that theory…

get yourself cooler, lay yourself low
coincidental murder, with nothing to show
with the judge, constipation will go to his head
and his wife’s aggravation, you’re soon enough dead

it’s the same old story, same old song, and dance, my friend
it’s the same old story, same old song, and dance, my friend

gotcha with the cocaine they found with your gun
[alt: shady lookin’ loser, you played with my gun]
no smoothy face lawyer to getcha undone
say love ain’t the same on the south side of town
you could look, but you ain’t gonna find it around

Brilliant…

The rest of Get Your Wings follows that format! Lot’s of super cool tracks that have that real slick Aero groove to it. S.O.S(Too Bad) with the crisp line of.

Salt Lake City, salt-lickin’ bitties
Bogies turn, stinkin’ of gin
Well my daddy was hard
His face was pretty scarred
From kickin’ ass to playin’ poker to win

Lord of the Thighs with that long jam out as you know just by listening Aero was ll pickled up in the studio as Jack Douglas and Bob Ezrin brought the sounds at the recording console!

Speaking of Ezrin for years it wasn’t mentioned but Ezrin while making those classic Alice Cooper records had guitar for hire slingers Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on the vinyl grooves of those Cooper albums.

So Ezrin brought in Hunter for some guitar solo’s on Train Kept A Rollin while Wagner also contributed to some solos on Train Kept A Rollin as well and not only that but supposedly Wagner did the lead take on Same Old Song And Dance!

Whatever the case it was interesting that Ezrin used these guys on the KISS Destroyer album as well. Kinda his go to perhaps when things stagnated in the studio or dudes (Ace Frehley) just didn’t show up. Whatever the case, a good song is a good song! Get Your Wings has Aerosmith trending in the upward position as this was a step in the right direction towards the classic Toys In The Attic album that would drop a year later in 1975!

 

The Scream: Let It Scream( 2018 Reissue)

Let’s don’t mince words here folk’s. The Scream released Let It Scream back in 1991, and that was it.

The term “One and Done” applies right here! The Scream came out with one stellar debut that packed an absolute punch to the noggin blending all things cool in the hard rock sphere!

The Scream featured former Racer X members Bruce Bouillet (guitar) and Juan Alderete (bass), and former Shark Island member Walt Woodard III (drums).

On vocals …wait for it!  Here’s Johnnny! The one and only Mr. John Corabi!

Now The Scream was the album that those two funny rock guys Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee had heard and than pooched John from The Scream to join Motley Crue after the Crue gave Vinnie Neal his walking papers in early 1992!

Somewhere Back In Time..

But let’s rewind here back for a minute to 1991 and these guys put out such a wicked album that even today (June 2019) this album does not sound dated whatsoever! That is one of the best things I can add to this review. But as we all know it’s all about timing and due to the shift in musical tastes (Take a bow Grunge!) The Scream suffered because of it!

I recall reading about these guys perhaps in RIP Magazine or maybe Metal Edge, but I never bit as around that time frame mid 80’s to the early ’90s there was so much hard rock floating about that somethings I couldn’t keep up with.

Basically, I would read about a band and think ‘I gotta check these guys out’ and then over time I would forget about it!

Unfortunately, The Scream was one of those bands until,

Corabi left The Scream and joined Motley Crue and recorded with Motley what I would consider one of the Top 3 albums Crue had ever recorded!

So with the self-titled Crue album hitting the streets in March of 1994 and really hearing for the first time Corbai on Lead Vocals which blew me away as John had that great raspy rock voice basically Rod Stewart on steroids while gargling razor blades!

So with John in the Crue Ranks It was time to get a copy of that album by his former band.

One problem though…

I couldn’t find it anywhere. It disappeared off the market. Perhaps I could have ordered it through a record shop but I never ever did that kind of thing so the I once again I forgot about this release.

Fast forward to the present!

Then a few days back I was flipping through my latest issue of Rock Candy Magazine and not only do they release a cool mag but they also reissue and release a ton of artists from yesteryear and one of those bands in there add was Let It Scream.

Hmmm, so I drifted over to iTunes and there it was for $9! Not only that but it was the Rock Candy reissue title with 5 bonus live tracks!

CLICK!

1. Outlaw
2. I Believe in Me
3. Man in the Moon
4. Father, Mother, Son
5. Give It Up
6. Never Loved Her Anyway
7. Tell Me Why
8. Loves Got a Hold on Me
9. I Don’t Care
10. Every Inch a Woman
11. You Are All I Need
12. Catch Me If You Can
13. Young and Dumb
14. Outlaw (Live 1992)
15. Give It Up (Live 1992)
16. I Believe in Me (Live 1992)
17. Father, Mother, Son (Live 1992)
18. Catch Me If You Can (Live 1992)
19. Lick and a Promise (Live 1992)
Upon my first listen to my ears which is a new release for me but is actually a 28-year-old release is that this debut is plain and simply phenomenal.  All of the 13 tracks are stellar. Produced by Eddie Kramer who basically keeps the sound live in the studio was a smart move. No polish added to these tracks!
The band as a whole is on fire. These guys are talented cats and it shows from the opener of Outlaw is an ass-kicker of an opener leading into  I Believe In Me which is another great rocker that includes instead of the obligatory guitar solo a sax solo instead. Basically sounds like a sax-driven through a 100 watt Marshall amp!
Even the slower  material like Father Mother Son the song doesn’t wimp out as the song still has a decent enough pace not falling into the trap of power ballad.
Course with it being the early 90’s there is some guitar driven Van Halen like rock in the form of  Catch Me If You Can which to me has that Hang em High VH feel to it! Splendid!
One of the tracks that really sticks out is Man in the Moon. With its bluesy like opening that goes into all good things, rock is such a brilliantly written song! 5 plus minutes of pure  Hard Rock Bliss!

Did you crank the video of Man in the Moon? That tune could have fit on side 2 of the Motley Corabi album perfectly! There is a ton of fun rock on here but with some good lyrics and a ton of cowbell tossed in for good measure! No lazy doddle rock from the musicians on this album.
The 5 added bonus live tracks are in your face live! Make no mistake about it folks as The Screams live cover of  Aerosmith’s Sick of a Dog is friggin brilliant!
Crank the vid below!

This album should have been huge and it all boils down to yep you guessed right…timing!
You have to hand it to John Croabi folks as between this stellar debut from 1991, the Motley Corabi album from 94 and the debut Union album from 95 John had a talented run that is kinda ignored by people but make no mistake he’s one talented cat!
Pretty amazing to being blown away by a debut album that is almost 3 decades old yet to my ears its a brand new spankin release!