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Quick Play: A round-up of September 2008 album releases

We've listed albums in order of star rating. Best first.

CREAM PIE Dirty Job www.creampierocks.com

Italian band Cream Pie remind me a bit of Faster Pussycat, a bit of Vain and more than that of a number of glam type bands that formed in the early Ď90ís following the successful run of bands like Warrant, Poison and Tuff, who in the long run were killed off by the domination of the grunge scene.

However, the band have already toured the States and are off there again at the beginning of next year and the album is extremely listenable. They have even overcome the fact that they have had to change vocalists since the CD was released.

All in all 'Dirty Job' is a good album and amongst the 11 tracks on offer, the highlights include 'Whore', 'Zip It', 'Electric Blue', 'So Bad' and 'Hungry For Mayhem'.

Certainly a band to keep an eye on, 'Dirty Job' can be bought or downloaded from the bandís website. ****

Review by Nikk Gunns

NAUGHTY BOYS 'R U Naughty Enough?' (Artist Network)

Swedish band Naughty Boys were originally formed in 1989 and after a number of line-up changes they split up in 1994. However the band reformed in 2005 and now release second album 'Are You Naughty Enough?'- 13 tracks of hook filled melodic rock that is reminiscent of early Bon Jovi, Whitesnake etc.

Standout tracks include 'I Will', 'After The Rain', 'Is This Love' and 'Trail Of Tears'.

This is a good comeback album and will hopefully lead to more. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

REVENGE Titties-N-Beer'
(REI Records)

Revenge has been around since 1987 and, looking at the cover of new CD 'Titties-N-Beer', you could be forgiven for thinking they were some kind of novelty band.

Far from it - this Ohio based three piece bring us 10 tracks of Ď80ís enthused metal and have been compared to Lita Ford meets Motley Crue- I wouldnít go that far but it is, no less, a good rock album.

Highlights include ''Anyway, Anytime', 'Hot Child In The City', a cover of Cheap Trickís 'Surrender', and 'Night Fire'. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

SAILOR Traffic Jam- Sound and Vision CD/DVD (Angel Air)

During the early to mid '70's Sailor enjoyed a number of hit records, including 'Traffic Jam', 'Girls, Girls, Girls' and 'A Glass Of Champagne'- their stage show featured the band in sailors' outfits and the band's source of subject matter was their 'adventures whilst on shore leave'.

During their heyday, and after the band split in the late '70's, various members wrote for other artists and enjoyed hits with, amongst others, Cliff Richard, Culture Club, Paul McCartney and Sheena Easton.

This CD/DVD release includes a CD of the bands best-known works including 'Open The Door', 'Changes', 'My Parachute', 'Tomorrow', 'Girls, Girls, Girls' and 'A Glass Of Champagne'.

The DVD features a concert recorded in the UK in 2002 and includes, alongside original songs, covers of 'Mack The Knife', 'Karma Chameleon', and 'In The Navy/Hot Stuff'. DVD extras include a history of Sailor, interviews with the band and unplugged versions of 'Girls, Girls, Girls' and 'Karma Chameleon'. ***

Review by Nikk Gunns

HELSTAR The King Of Hell (AFM Records)

Extreme US metal outfit that formed in the early 80s, Helstar return with their first studio project in 13 years. Singer James Rivera has assembled a fine band with some earlier members too. Cue guitarists Larry Barragan and Rob Trevino, bassist Jerry Abarca and drummer Russel DeLeon.

With two new songs previously issued on last year's "Sins Of The Past" compilation, the sound is clearly influenced by Anthrax and Judas Priest and many European power metal bands. Some powerful guitar work, a wide range to the vocals and machine gun drums (the latter does get a rather monotonous at times)

"Tormenter" does have some great guitar solo work, but the whole album has tend towards a samey feel throughout. There are some good moments, but they are hard to find on a promo where the album is split into chunks ranging from 14 to 50 seconds. That gives a 9 track album 99 tracks in your CD player.

Definitely ear splitting. And on "In My Darkness" the acoustic intro nods at Priest's "Before The Dawn".

If you like deafening metal you'll love this. **1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

RC2 Future Awaits (Prog Rock Records)

Venezuelan prog rock may be a new concept to some but this is RC2's second album.

Opener "Time Pieces" is a 10 minute track that drifts and changes direction in a disjointed fashion simultaneously. From melodic drifting piano and searing guitar work to grating rhythms reminiscent of Bill Bruford at his most experimental it's all here.

The title track follows in the same way, mixing more new age music with much heavier moments. When the band do get going there are serious nods to Yes, 80s King Crimson and Pallas; quite a modern feel with touches of Mike Oldfield too.

Sadly the programmed sound on "Coming Down Again" doesn't work. At All.

Some excellent moments but getting through the intermediate segments were just a little too hard work. **1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

RELIGIOUS KNIFES The Door (Ecstatic Peace)

Religious Knifes are from an era when experimentation, peace, love and intoxicating substances were the order of the day.

Based around loose synth oscillations and spare Kraut repetition from Maya Miller and Michael Bernstein, with drums from Nate Nelson and Todd Cavallo on bass, the quartet deliver a steady groove of guitars, reedy organs, modular synths that echoes ghosts of classical rock textures.

The six tracks here provide a summer soundtrack to Brooklyn 2008. Man, pass the spliff. **½

Review by Pete Whalley


HUSH ARBORS Hush Arbors
(Ecstatic Peace)

Keith Wood, along with constant foil Leon Dufficy, is Hush Arbors. Typical of many of Ecstatic Peace label artists, itís experimental - in this case psych folk. And as such, itís not always easily accessible. But with Byrds and CSN&Y undertones, itís one that may well appeal to lovers of the genre.

Steeped in jangling acoustics with the occasion lead solo thrown in and with overlapping vocals, itís a throwback to a bygone era. One to be explored by those who enjoy Neil Youngís more off the wall moments. **½

Review by Pete Whalley

CCCP Let's Spend The Night Together
(Devgel Records / Voiceprint)

This producer led studio project was put together in 1986, with the intention of using a range of vocalists. This album of covers hasn't had a universal release until now.

Solid rock, plenty of soul, touches of AOR, it's fairly typical mid 80s but enjoyable with it.

Vocalists include Carlene Carter, and notably John Payne (ELO II, Roger Daltrey, Asia et al), and the 9 song set includes many classics covered. "Reach Out - I'll Be There" is given the treatment with some polished guitar work too.

Others include "All The Young Dudes" (the coffee table sound is typified here) and the catchier (and pounding) "Keep On Running". "Centerfold" and "Strange Brew" finish the set.

Hardly essential, but not bad at all. Dinner party music for the middle aged wannabe rocker.  **½

Review by Joe Geesin

PHD Ph.D. (Voiceprint)

This 1981 album mixed new wave pop and FM/AOR rock'n'roll and eventually proved successful.

The band consisted of pianist Tony Hymas (Jeff Beck Group) and vocalist Jim Diamond (solo and Bandit), with Simon Phillips providing most of the drums.

"Little Suzi's On The Up" is a good catchy pop starter, and "War Years" nods at Yes with a marching band drum sound. "Oh Maria" is more pop with a soft new wave nod, as was a little more typically found in the charts a year or two later. "I Won't Let You Down" was a hit single many may remember.

"Ooh Sha Sha" is one of the stronger musical numbers, as many of the other tracks do sound like a project put together by a producer.

Some good tunes, though, but not the strongest of most essential of sets. Both Hymas and Diamond did better work elsewhere.  
**½

Review by Joe Geesin

HELSTAR The King Of Hell (AFM Records)

Extreme US metal outfit that formed in the early 80s, Helstar return with their first studio project in 13 years. Singer James Rivera has assembled a fine band with some earlier members too. Cue guitarists Larry Barragan and Rob Trevino, bassist Jerry Abarca and drummer Russel DeLeon.

With two new songs previously issued on last year's "Sins Of The Past" compilation, the sound is clearly influenced by Anthrax and Judas Priest and many European power metal bands. Some powerful guitar work, a wide range to the vocals and machine gun drums (the latter does get a rather monotonous at times)

"Tormenter" does have some great guitar solo work, but the whole album has tend towards a samey feel throughout. There are some good moments, but they are hard to find on a promo where the album is split into chunks ranging from 14 to 50 seconds. That gives a 9 track album 99 tracks in your CD player.

Definitely ear splitting. And on "In My Darkness" the acoustic intro nods at Priest's "Before The Dawn".

If you like deafening metal you'll love this.
**½

Review by Joe Geesin

RC2 Future Awaits (Prog Rock Records)

Venezuelan prog rock may be a new concept to some but this is RC2's second album.

Opener "Time Pieces" is a 10 minute track that drifts and changes direction in a disjointed fashion simultaneously. From melodic drifting piano and searing guitar work to grating rhythms reminiscent of Bill Bruford at his most experimental it's all here.

The title track follows in the same way, mixing more new age music with much heavier moments. When the band do get going there are serious nods to Yes, 80s King Crimson and Pallas; quite a modern feel with touches of Mike Oldfield too.

Sadly the programmed sound on "Coming Down Again" doesn't work. At All.

Some excellent moments but getting through the intermediate segments was just a little too hard work.
**½

Review by Joe Geesin


HJALTALIN Sleepdrunk Seasons
(Ecstatic Peace)

Hjaltalin - an eight piece from Iceland - have played outside their homeland on only a handful of occasions, but back at home they were nominated for five Music Awards this year and won two - best songwriter and the Brightest Hope, and their debut album Sleepdrunk Seasons now receives itís full European release.

Being Icelandic (Bjork) Hjaltalin like to do things differently, so itís hard to know whether theyíre an indie rock band with orchestral tendencies or vica versa. Because, as well as the standard guitar, bass and drums, this eight piece has piano, accordion, bassoon, clarinet, cello and violin.

The result, a melodic indie concoction that leaves the listener somewhat stunned - opening with Northern brass on Sleepdrunk Seasons II (think Hovis) and then venturing into All The Kings Horses with a jazz meets indie folk rock on Traffic Music, and then following whatever direction they feel like, this sort of feels like what the Teletubbies might have sounded like if theyíd decided to put a band together. Weird. On the other hand if Icelandic rock (Bjork, Sigur Ros) stimulate your erogenous zones, then Hjaltalin may just do the same. **

Review by Pete Whalley


 


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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