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

MAD MAX

WELCOME AMERICA

 


Seeing Mad Max perform for the first time in the US at Rocklahoma in 2009 made me wonder how on earth I had missed them first time round. Sure I knew Michael Voss from his other work and had heard the name of the band before, but I had never actually got to check them out. Live at that festival they put on such a show they demanded that you check them out. So I picked up a couple of CDs on e-bay and liked what I heard. I see that the band also played at Rocklahoma this year so the comeback seems to be well and truly on and here is the album the band are pinning their hopes on. With a title like ‘Welcome America’ it may not be exactly subtle, or maybe that’s the German sense of humour!

 

Recent efforts ‘Night of the White Rock’ and ‘White Sands’ were both pretty cool albums, though their most recent CD ‘Here We Are’ was somewhat variable. On first listen ‘Welcome America’ seems to dip a little below the bar set by those two releases, but now that I’ve come back to it again it seems a lot more solid, albeit with a few weak links at the end. It’s a light and positive fresh sound, and an album with some standout tunes.

 

They leave the best till first… ‘Welcome America’ the title track is also one of the best songs on the CD, a very melodic, very light and breezy, guitar driven, layered-vocal monster that sets expectations high. ‘Big Wheel’ that follows is one of my favourite tracks, an acoustic build and almost Beatles-like vocal that leads to a harder crunchy chorus. “Cherry Moon’ though just about takes it for me with its killer hook. If it was the mid eighties this would be the song to take on the charts with. (I do wish people would stop singing about this ubiquitous Johnny dude though!) Nice work and a beautiful solo! ‘Pinky Promise’ rocks along nicely too.

 

‘Someone Not Me’ however is just plain confusing in that it kind of reminds me of the sort of boy-band pop-rock that sits up there in the charts these days. It’s a good song if you like that kind of stuff and I suppose it does show another string to the bow, but… hey you listen to and see what I mean! ‘Awesome’ elicits a similar sort of feeling though with a bit of a Cheap Trick vibe going on. Michael sounds about 16 on that one!

 

The sound here is pretty light melodic rock throughout but it’s not ballad-heavy and the pace is there throughout. It’s what if I had to term it anything would probably categorise as light pop-rock. I get a hint of Rick Springfield here and there.

 

The album closes on a pretty light note with a ballad and semi-ballad in ‘My Heart’s Been Waiting’ and ‘This Means Nothing’. Both are nice songs but not up to the standard of the more up-tempo tunes, and feel odd together, it might have been nicer to go out with a bit more of a bang and slip these two earlier in the track listing…

 

Performances by the band throughout are impeccable, production values are of similar high quality. Lyrically the album is a bit of a departure as most of the songs of substance seem to be built around personal relationships and maybe even their experiences in the US. Whilst it may not be the first album I would point you to by the band, if you know the band already then I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

 

Mark