Thursday, April 11, 2013

Illinois Entertainer Reviews 2012: U-W

Seven Deadly 

One of the highest compliments anyone can pay a hard-rock album these days is to say it would sound good in an episode of Supernatural, and with “Burn Your House Down,” this twenty-first studio LP by Phil Mogg and Co. passes that test.  It’s truly amazing how far falsetto background vocalists going “Ooo, ooo” over minor chords and a mid-tempo beat can go toward diminishing one’s fear of the reaper--the other mid-tempo cuts might as well be Bob Seger B-sides by comparison.  Fortunately, loud and-or fast rules.  “Fight Night” makes watching boxing on Tijuana TV sound like a joyride on the highway to hell.  And “Wonderland,” powered by Vinnie Moore’s precision riffs, will have headbangers old enough to know better risking air-band whiplash.

Yin & Yang 
(Cherry Red)

PiL’s Metal Box is one of the greatest sounding albums ever, and Wobble (on bass) and Levene (on guitar) were at its core, throbbing and scraping away as if there were no other way out of the punk cul-de-sac that John Lydon yowled about atop them.  There  wasn’t.  And now, thirty-three years later, Wobble and Levene have picked up where they left off.  Lydon’s not aboard, but, when verbal bile must be spewed, Wobble does a close-enough-for-antichrist impersonation--especially on “Jags & Staffs,” the spoken bits of which recall PiL’s “Religion I.”  As for the duo’s re-forging of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s weakest link (“Within You Without You”) into a throb-scrape template, it could’ve kept Lester Bangs brooding deep into the night.

Illinois Entertainer 2012: Christmas

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