The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
MICHAEL MONROE HORNS AND HALOS CD REVIEW 2013

MICHAEL MONROE

HORNS AND HALOS

spinEfarm records

2013

 

 

PLENTY LEFT IN THE TANK

 

 

I’ve grown up with the music of Michael Monroe and so it will be no surprise that the kid that snuck into the Fulham Greyhound to catch Hanoi Rocks back in the day still eagerly anticipates every release. In truth over the years Monroe’s albums have been variable, varying from average to great, but all characteristically have had at least one of two gems.

 

Looking back at his last release ‘Sensory Overdrive’ now with a couple of years under the bridge, it’s certainly holds up as one of Mike’s best releases,  and so the loss of writing partner Ginger Wildheart (now out there pursuing his own mayhem) means that Horns and Halos is a dish of a decidedly different flavour.  The good news is that the big hooks and irresistible pop-infused melodies that you associate with Ginger’s writing all seem largely intact here just not as over-used: and whilst we make a couple of left turns – on tracks like the almost Billy Idol-esque ‘Ritual’ this is a mighty strong return.

 

Opening up with the high octane ‘TNT Diet’ is as good a place to start as ever with its driving Hanoi beat it’s familiar ground and well-executed if not exactly breaking any new ground. It’s the rough-edged spiky punk of ‘Ballad of the Lower East Side’ that really sets the pulse racing though – this is the Michal Monroe you always hoped for – alive, ablaze and not giving a fuck. The blues rock of ‘Eighteen Angels’ takes you in yet another direction and while it’s not entirely satisfying at first listen it’s a grower and the harp kicks ass. This album is giving you variety that maybe ‘Sensory Overdrive’ didn’t and it’s all working.   

 

If you are looking for the big payoff numbers – I’ll offer a pair: ‘Child of the Revolution’ has a hook you could land a supertanker with, and ‘Saturday Night Special’ just builds on that. Both have that Monroe edge – a sort of New York Dolls –like abrasiveness, a punkiness, a bare-bones rock and roll that at least to my ears is perfect imperfection. Man this is beautiful and it never ages.

 

A great album that I think trumps the more one-dimensional ’Sensory Overdrive’: this is Mike back to his punky best. At the minute ‘Soul Surrender’ and the rather simple ‘Don’t Block the Sun’ are blaring out of the speakers but this is an album that just keeps on giving.    

 

 

 

Mark Diggins

 

MICHAEL MONROE HORNS AND HALOS CD REVIEW 2013