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Friday, November 13, 2009

HANOI ROCKS

HANOI ROCKS
SELF DESTRUCTION BLUES (1983)
REMASTER
320 KBPS

By the time Hanoi Rocks recorded their third album, the quintet had hired the ill-fated Razzle on drums, and he brought a clear sense of the glammy stomp needed by the band right from the start. If "Love's an Injection" doesn't have the full-bodied crunch of Gary Glitter at his most outrageous, then Razzle's got the pacing down enough that it's clear why he was hired. The five-piece resolutely breaks no bounds throughout, but then again, anyone expecting that was in the wrong place; those expecting obvious nods to the likes of Ziggy-era Bowie, Mott the Hoople, and the like, though, would be in heaven. Michael Monroe's confident singing, if nowhere near as wonderfully unhinged as the Scandinavian hard rock monsters of the '90s, does the job with the right amount of implied strut and sleaze; if anything, the bizarrely sweet backing vocals on many songs seem to undercut what he's trying to do. Andy McCoy and Nasty Suicide do their expected riff-and-roll, Sam Yaffa doesn't disgrace himself on bass, and the end result is entertaining — if not mind-blowing — fun. The genre exercise of the title track works better than some might have thought, with Monroe blowing on his harmonica in prime Chicago electric blues-style and getting a reasonable wail going (the production on the track intentionally sounds old, to boot). The best moments, though, come from the unexpected moments per track — check the low-key verses on "Café Avenue," with Monroe quietly purring tales of decadence and surviving on the streets, or the giddy pop nuttiness of "Desperados," one of the least-threatening, but still fun, rough-guy songs ever. "Kill City" finds Razzle pulling off a bit of introductory percussion that might not be out of place on a Santana record. However, the of-the-time synth line on "Whispers in the Dark" should be taken out and shot.

1. Love's an Injection
2. I Want You
3. Cafe Avenue
4. Nothing New
5. Kill City
6. Self Destruction Blues
7. Beer and a Cigarette
8. Whispers in the Dark
9. Taxi Driver
10. Desperados
11. Problem Child
12. Dead by Xmas