Monday, June 20, 2011

MICHAEL MONROE -CD- SENSORY OVERDRIVE

It's been a month since its release but I've finally been able to give Michael Monroe's latest solo record, "Sensory Overdrive" a good listen and I'm glad I did. "Sensory Overdrive" very well may be the equal to Michael's greatest solo effort, 1989's "Not Fakin" It" which is one of my favorite albums and certainly one of the most underrated albums of that era.

For those of you who may not know, Michael Monroe is a Finnish vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who first found fame and success with the glam punk outfit Hanoi Rocks which formed in 1979. Hanoi Rocks disbanded in 1985 after the tragic and sudden death of their drummer, Nicholas Dingley, better known as Razzle. Razzle was killed in a a two car crash in which he was a passenger in Motley Crue's Vince Neil's car. Both were drunk and on a beer run from Vince's house. Vince was driving and they crashed into a car coming from the opposite direction. Vince and the occupants in the opposing vehicle were all injured but survived. Sadly Razzle was pronounced dead in the ER.

After the band broke up Michael began his solo career with the release of "Nights Are So Long" in 1987. However it was his second solo release, "Not Fakin' It" in 1989 that spawned the single "Death, Jail or Rock 'N' Roll". The single was a moderate hit and a video for it was done for MTV but Michael never reached the heights his vocal mastery and song writing skills should have. He released four other solo records through 2003.

In addition to his solo work Michael was also part of the all-star side projects Jerusalem Slim and Demolition 23.Which released albums in 1992 and 1994 respectively. Michael served as front man on both.

Hanoi Rocks reformed with Michael and one other original member, guitarist Andy McCoy in 2002 and Hanoi Rocks continued on until 2009.  It seemed the best time as any for Michael to rediscover his solo career. A live album, "Another Night In The Sun: Live In Helsinki" was released in 2010. That live show was recorded in June of 2010 with Michael's new solo band and featured Sam Yaffa on bass and vocals. Sam was Michael's old friend and band mate from Hanoi Rocks. Michael's solo band also included well known drummer Karl Rosquist, guitarist Steve Conte and guitarist Ginger of The Wildhearts. This is the same lineup that would record and release 2011's "Sensory Overdrive".

"Sensory Overdrive" kicks off with the in your face "Trick Of The Wrist" a song with great energy and Michael's vocals are still strong and equally as energetic. Then before you know what's hit you comes "78" which is definitely a product of "ginger" being in the band and has very much a Wildhearts feel to it. An amazing riff this is one of those songs that make me think arena rock anthem of the 80s. Just fist pumping, feet stomping fun. Another great riff can be found on the edgier bluesier "Modern Day Miracle". This album is filled with great songs. Rocking songs. Also there is no such thing as a bad album that features Lemmy and this one has Lemmy guesting on "Debauchery As A Fine Art ". This was co-written by Lemmy and is really a refined version of "Motorheaded For a Fall" that appeared on the live album last year.

A lot of folks are stating this is better than "Not Fakin' It" and maybe it is but that is an album that will always be Michael's best work in my opinion. This eleven track collection though is certainly as close to being that good. Check it out and let me know what you think.

It should be noted that on June 17, 2011 Ginger performed his last show with Michael Monroe and his band. Michael was coy on his replacement and the new guitarist will not be officially announced until Tuesday June 20th. Reports have said it's Dregen of Backyard Babies fame.

MICHAEL MONROE - SENSORY OVERDRIVE COMPLETE TRACK LISTING:

1 Trick Of The Wrist
2 ’78
3 Got Blood ?
4 Superpowered Superfly
5 Modern Day Miracle
6 Bombs Away
7 All You Need
8 Later Won’t Wait
9 Gone, Baby Gone
10 Center Of Your Heart
11 Debauchery As A Fine Art

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