When I review an album that doesn’t really do it for me, it’s quite hard to phrase things in a polite way. That’s a problem I’m having with this one. While I don’t hate it and there certainly is potential, there are a few fundamental problems that make this NYC band tough to enjoy.
In the positive column, there are a number of good things going on. One thing I’ll say for them, this band isn’t short on catchy riffs. The main riff for “Human” is a classic melodic riff, the type the band Sugar was great at dispensing, yet with a distinctly glam-rock feel to the whole affair. The riff for “Stardom” isn’t bad, either. The arrangements have a good pop sense to them, too. The guitar player is certainly an impressive shredder, and the rhythm section holds things together nicely. Normally, this sort of rock is right up my alley. While THIS certainly have the building blocks of a potentially great band, there are a lot of gaps missing.
The main problem I have with this release is the vocals. Not only do the vocal melodies lack innovation, but the guy’s cocky inflections are a bit much. I think he’s going for the sound of Bowie or Brian Ferry, but he’s coming up with more of a Faster Pussycat sort of thing. This doesn’t serve the songs at all. He sings with a cocky swagger which might work for a bluesy, boozy hard-rock outfit, but in this context the music just doesn’t back it up. Also, the production of the songs is quite thin. The guitars are certainly a focal point of the band, but it only sounds like one track of guitars were recorded for each song. While it’s admirable to have an album that sounds close to a live performance, it doesn’t really work for this kind of music. Glam was all about being excessive. It would be nice if this idea carried over to the production as well. (Not to go as far as a Queen song would, but a few double tracked guitars would have been nice.) When the solos occur, there are no backing rhythm guitars. That leaves the vocalist to be up-front and center on all of these songs.
That’s pretty much what ruined it for me. However, this sounds like a release from a newer band, so let’s give them some time to work out the kinks and see what they come up with next.