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Micro-Reviewery 9: DRI, Astronoid, Nattsvargr, Palissade




DRI – But Wait…There’s More EP

Legends DRI prove their long absence from a recording studio was the nicest thing they could have done for humanity. This five track EP is totally useless. The opening “Against Me” was previously released on the band’s website a decade ago, while “Mad Man” and “Couch Slouch” were featured on Dealing With It! over thirty years back. They even ignore all of their innovations in crossover thrash, exclusively playing dull hardcore. We need to put microchips into punk rock guys so they spontaneously combust when they hit twenty-five.


Astronoid – Air

Astronoid throws their two cents into the blackgaze arena with a very focused sound. Vocals are never screaming, just melodic melancholy. The guitars and drums pound their way through largely atmospheric black metal sections punctuated with slow crawls. “Violence” is conventional shoegaze that totally disrupts the flow, but in general, you have to really, really like wistful whinery to get through the double LP length.



Nattsvargr – Winds of Transilvania

Misspelling Transylvania for the sake of metal, Stockholm’s Nattsvargr is less derivative thank you’d think. It definitely recalls the tr00 kvult Scandinavian stuff of yore: the title track in particular is a clear clone to Darkthrone’s similarly titled Transilvanian Hunger with its tremolo hypnotism. Further digging reveals a lot more, with the band slowing things down on the epic “Svarta natten…”, droning it up on “Ett lik utan en grav”, and thrashing out on “The Freezing Darkness”. This is as diverse as raw black metal can get without comprising its unadulterated hatred.



Palissade – Lanterne / Je ne peux oublier

Slick goth with that clean single-note guitar echo proves delicious with Palissade’s first demo. These two tracks sink into your brain and fill up the empty spaces. “Lanterne” is very coldwave pop and “Je ne peux oublier” is pure dark atmosphere, a distinction that only the purest post-punk junkers will ever understand. Thank God I’m one of those guys.



Sockeye – Unruley King and I

junkheadv1tmbSockeye – Unruley King and I

In 1994, there was a lot of stuff that blatantly embraced the retarded. Retards were brought front and center in the cinemascape with Forrest Gump and Dumb and Dumber. Jerky Boys 2 was up for a grammy and GWAR had their very short stint with the majors. Wanton stupidity was becoming embraced by the mainstream.

But insensitive retardation didn’t pop up overnight. Throughout the ’80s, a handful of bands were the vanguard of stupid nose-picking humor, and Sockeye was drooling at the front lines. With songs like “Fuck Your Cat” and “Wheelchair Full of Old Men”, Sockeye’s early lo-fi tapes are as weird and wild as noise-punk get. If “Destroy everything while a bunch of retards fuck your mom/Then beat your dad to death with a pillowcase full of squirrels” doesn’t sound like a good time, then you probably listen to Mariah Carey and have no soul.

Among all of ’94’s big-budget retarded glamour, Sockeye released Retards Hiss Past My Window, tardcore’s White Album, Dark Side of the Moon, and Led Zepplin IV all rolled into one. Comprised of re-recordings of Sockeye old classics alongside some new tracks, Retards displays the band at their peak. The refined yet slimy studio sound and stellar performances really brings out Sockeye’s insanity, making the album a seriously unheralded classic.

So twenty-two years later, My Mind’s Eye has just released the Unruley King and I, a vinyl-exclusive collection of demos recorded prior to Retards remastered from the original four-track tapes. It comes in random colors. My copy’s baby poo green with some brown and black stains for good measure.


This collection is an instant must-have for any Sockeye aficionado. The remaster job is pretty great, with everything sounding crisp and clear. These are probably the best performances of “Destroy Everything” and “Freaky Friday Tits” you’ll ever find, the former featuring some great noisecore breaks mid-song and the latter absolutely ripping through the track. While versions of “Retarded Boy Rendevous” and “Your Muff Has Tusks” might not be better than their studio counterparts, they certainly are different enough to warrant attention. Most of the other tracks are good runs of the songs you know and love, but a few different tracks sneak in. Both “We Are Circumcized” and “Two Babies Fucking” can be found on other releases, but they definitely sound better here.

Basically, Sockeye’s music will appeal to anyone who thinks poop and dick jokes are funny, myself included. The only track I really dislike is “Yo Me Gusta Cum”, an acoustic track sung in fake Spanish that wasn’t really funny the first time around. Otherwise, it’s a great set that should be in every record collection ever.

It’s appropriate that they broke up right after recording these demos and Retards: with Beavis & Butthead and Dennis Leary rearing their heads, offensive humor was quickly becoming the status quo. How can you be noise-punk rebels when everybody’s making dead baby jokes? I’m glad these demos were sat on until now, a time where political-correction has returned in a big way. Unruley King and I reminds me that while culture is constantly changing, there will always be anti-everything vagabonds willing to fantasize about Ulysses S. Grant appearing on their pizza.


The Monkees – Good Times!

junkheadv1tmbThe Monkees – Good Times!

’60s bubblegum rock holds a special place in my heart. Never again would rock raunch and Sesame Street melodies meld so seamlessly, selling sex and drugs to minors. While the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” is an obvious example, my personal favorite is “1 2 3 Red Light” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company. The obligatory infectious melody is paired with lyrics that are decidedly anti-”just say no”: “Everytime I make a move to love you/1, 2, 3, red light! You stop me/Baby you ain’t right to stop me”. In general, there’s always something rude about the purest bubblegum, a tension bubbling under the surface that will always make Everything’s Archie infinitely cooler than Meet the Beatles.

Most of these groups were manufactured by evil corporations and the Monkees were no different, but somehow they’re back fifty years later with Good Times!, a retro bubblegum piece here to revive your love of ’60s radio-ready pop. Of all the bubblegum acts, the Monkees were the only one who actually had a consistent line-up. This was not by choice: the group had to be on their popular TV show every week and pretend they were a functioning unit. The members rarely wrote a track and often used a ton of session musicians even after they wrangled creative control of their albums.

And they’re still doing it fifty years later. Now slimmed down to official members Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz, it’s all studio glitz. Many songs have ten session musicians backing Micky Dolenz, with Nesmith and Tork taking over only a handful of the albums thirteen tracks.

Each Monkee has one writing credit to their name and they all totally blow. Tork’s “Little Girl” and Nesmith’s “I Know What I Know” are ballad drivel, while Dolenz’s “I Was There (And I’m Told I Had a Good Time)” is the worst “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” re-write ever.

Other songwriters do a better job, but not much. The opening title track is based on a Harry Nillson demo and even features the dead man’s voice, an addition that doesn’t keep the song from sucking ass. “You Bring the Summer” is a standout, written by the dude from XTC. It’s glittery ’60s bounce trumps “She Makes Me Laugh”, a soft verse/loud chorus piece by some dude from Weezer.

There’s a lot of middling tracks in between and the okay rocker “Gotta Give It Time”, but “Love to Love” definitely sticks out. A Neil Diamond track with ancient vocals from the departed Davy Jones, it’s garage-pop aged to perfection. The guitars jangle and the tambourines pound proudly as Jones sings with the perfect moody croon. Too bad it’s the only great song on the album, and it’s only appropriate that it was mainly recorded back in ’67.

So yeah, these are some shitty times. More of the Monkees or Headquarters were okay albums, but both are twenty times better than this garbage. I’d probably rather listen to Meet the Beatles than this…and I fucking hate the Beatles.




tinyayholev1a I was listening to Wytch Hazel at lunch one day. I was really sick and I wrote something along the lines of “real decent guitar sound, okay music.” The next day I picked up where I left off and I had gotten a good rest in. I was absolutely blown away. Convinced of my mistake I listened to the first half again and after could not stop thinking about it. I immediately ordered the vinyl, which took almost a full month to get here because the “street date” or something bogus. Totally worth the wait.
My excitement rubbed off on Junkhead and he encouraged me to play it to him over the phone when I got it. I am slightly upset I did not splurge on the white vinyl.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I was skeptical at first. Wytch Hazel sounds like a foofy folky name, but thankfully they’re only like that for two tracks on the album. Otherwise, it closely resembles the NWOBHM, which is my favorite genre of anything ever.
tinyayholev1a You could not get over the name of the album. “Prelude to what?”
tinyjunkheadv1a It’s an awful name. There’s a track called “Prelude” on the album and everything, but that’s not even a prelude to anything. Every other song on the album has a better title.
I complained about it for over fifteen minutes.
tinyayholev1a I think we can assume it is a prelude to the next track.
tinyjunkheadv1a Why would I assume that? You’re going to name an album after a track that’s sole function is to segue into a good song?
Not only that, “Prelude” is the worst song on the album.
tinyayholev1a It is a really long prelude. The theme probably repeats ten times.
tinyjunkheadv1a A lot of metal bands make that mistake when they come up with some instrumental. Even if their normal songs are relatively complex, the vocal-less tracks wind up being super dumb.
tinyayholev1a Also, it feels like it’s going to go into a killer doom metal song, but it stays mellow. I bet when the play it live they just shorten it to 2 minutes instead of 4:17
tinyjunkheadv1a They probably stretch it out to 41:70.
Or 42:10, whatever.
tinyayholev1a “We only have 46 minutes of material, and all of our songs bleed into each other, so we’re going to play prelude for 45 minutes to fit the bill.”
On that note, I do like “Psalm.” The guitar work is really pleasing to me.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, let’s get off the negative. While I’m not too fond of the two folky tracks, they definitely break up the rockers in a way that I can appreciate.
It’s hard to make a great album that’s always cranked up and kickin’ ass, so it’s good Wytch Hazel slowed it down. “Dark Ages” is the other one and I really dig the chorus on that one.
“We live in the Dark Ages” times ten is my kind of chorus.
tinyayholev1a Would you say it’s something every metalhead can agree on?
tinyjunkheadv1a The chorus or the folky bits breaking up the action?
tinyayholev1a The chorus. I can’t imagine many agreeing on the break up.
tinyjunkheadv1a I mean, there’s doom-and-gloom in most extreme music. Metal fans are more into that then singing about hugging your grandma or romance or something.
Like, if you want to hear somebody complaining about chicks or something, listen to pop music.
tinyayholev1a It is important to consider the premise of this band when discussing their music. NWOBHM from 600 years ago.
tinyjunkheadv1a NWOBHM lyrics did complain about chicks a lot, but it’s more because it’s a covertly poppy genre. There’s a lot of melody infused in it.
tinyayholev1a The bands eponymous track title is the best track on the album. I think it is about trying to succeed on your own then turning back to a higher authority’s wisdom.
tinyjunkheadv1a I think it’s about having the tastiest melodies on the album. The guitars and vocals trade off perfectly, and the Thin Lizzy-ish guitar breakdown at the 2:30 mark is phenomenal.
tinyayholev1a It is the catchiest melody.
tinyjunkheadv1a But yeah, there’s a heavy Christian vibe running through the album really.
There’s also a lot of battles and a lot of pronouns. “I” and “He” are all over the place, so I can see the whole relationship with God thing spread all over.
tinyayholev1a I feel like I Christian lyrics do not scare away as many listeners as we might think. Music listeners can be open minded and most people do not let lyrics deter them from an album, but these lyrics are really strong and visionary. I can not think of any corny lines, which I usually associate with Christian lyrics.
Also, the lyrics tell an overarching epic. The music hints at this with the second track, “Fight,” and the last track, “We will be strong,” both start off with a snare drum march and lead into a power metal type ballad.
tinyjunkheadv1a I mean, it’s corny in a metal way. There’s still a lot of battles and stone towers laying about, but the Christian thing doesn’t come across as ham-fisted as on a Stryper album or something.
tinyayholev1a “Oh no! The skies around are falling,
Oh no! The seas begin to roll
Oh no! Take me from the picture
Oh no! Before it takes my soul”
tinyjunkheadv1a I don’t really consider either a power ballad, they just rock the fuck out. Most of the album does that.
It rips starting from the opener which sets most of the tone: 600-year-old NWOBHM.
tinyayholev1a Rock out is a better term. Not like it’s symphonic or anything. The instrumentation is as bare as my forehead.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I’m glad they don’t throw in fiddles or something. I figured they would eventually but they didn’t.
They don’t lose sight of the slick tuneful hard rock sound.
I wonder if that’s how the MC’s introduce them. “NWOBHM from 600 years ago without gimmicky folk instruments.”
“If you like the Grateful Dead…”
Did you just fall off the your chair laughing?
tinyjunkheadv1a “…and Diamond Head, you’ll love Wytch Hazel”
I wonder if they’ll go further down the Jethro Tull route and start making album long songs and stuff. For some reason I think Wytch Hazel could pull it off.
tinyayholev1a “Truth,” an earlier recording is pretty good, but the development is clear, Wytch Hazel has a crystallized concept.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, they’re definitely the kind of band that’s not going to stick around and just repeat themselves over and over, which I think’s a good thing. “More Than Conquerors” and “Fight” and everything are all awesome, but I doubt they’d be good if the band re-wrote them over and over.
tinyayholev1a “Fight” is an older song, one of two songs rerecorded for this album. I hope they don’t turn out like Shonen Knife playing Twist Barbie on every album; replace Twist Barbie with the track “Wytch Hazel.”
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, it’s interesting that Wytch Hazel leaves you thinking more about where they’re going than where they’re at now. Maybe it’s just a….PRELELUDDDEE of things to come?
tinyayholev1a “Wytch Hazel’s earth shattering 2017 release, featuring a monumental cover, ‘Twist Barbie.'”
I’d buy it.
tinyjunkheadv1a Even if this album had a cover of “Twist Barbie”, it’d still be in my current top five for the year.

Ayhole 5/5
Junkhead B+


Brotherhood – Turn The Gold To Chrome


junkheadv1tmbBrotherhood – Turn The Gold To Chrome

Few things can match the first time I heard Cleopatra Record’s Goth Box back in ’97. It opened my little ten year old eyes to a genre plagued with misconception. I figured popular metal junk like Type O Negative was the be-all-end-all, but the compilation featured bands from Bauhaus to Beat Mistress. It helped me develop a taste for goth music that’s only grown over time, a respect that makes an album like Turn The Gold To Chrome so appealing.

In many ways, Brotherhood is a saucy love letter to those ’80s and ’90s goth bands. They combine all the elements that made the Sisters of Mercy so wonderful: pounding beats, brooding vocals, and those catchy single-note guitars melodies. The strange thing is that retro-memorandum bands don’t normally top their influences, which Brotherhood often does.

“End of Time” is a driving opener, but you won’t realize you’re onto something great until track two, “Abigail”. “Sha-na-na-na-na/That’s what she said/Sha-na-na-na-na/As she walked away” is the kind of catchy melancholy that’ll be branded in my mind for weeks to come. Later, “Lost” mixes rolling acoustic strumming and shimmering synths to perfection. “So Many Stars” elevates the typically tepid slow burner style to great heights with a gorgeously droning male/female chorus.

Things get decidedly more poppier sounding during the second half, with sections of “Sleepwalking” and “Over and Over” introducing elements that remind you more of Depeche Mode than Death Ride 69. “Question and Answer” takes this to the absolute extreme, dominated by a bouncier beat and bubblegum guitar/synth riff. The change keeps things from getting stale, showing more songwriting range from the group and giving listeners more to chew on.

Basically, Brotherhood is any goth fan’s second honeymoon: it recalls everything that made you fall in love with the genre in the first place, reviving an old paradigm with careful songcraft. So yeah, I’ll take a Turn The Gold To Chrome over a Vision Thing any day.



Axel Rudi Pell – Oceans of Time

junkheadv1tmbAxel Rudi Pell – Oceans of Time

There are some big name guitarists in the world of rock. Joe Perry, Keith Richards, and whoever gives a fuck are all names you hear thrown around by non-elitists. News flash: elitists like me know those guys are awful. The real totally awesome guitarists are the crazy blonde-haired German dudes. Amongst this group, Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, and Axel Rudi Pell are the official holy trinity.

Probably the most obscure amongst non-European audiences, Pell originally played in the largely generic band Steeler throughout the ’80s before breaking out on a successful solo career. After five albums, including a trilogy with veteran singer Jeff Scott Soto, Pell tapped Hardline vocalist Johnny Gioeli to take over on his 1998 release Oceans of Time. Aside from a revolving door of drummers, this establishes the same line-up that Pell has today almost twenty years later.

In a way, Oceans of Time also solidifed Pell’s style. It continues the direction of his previous album Magic but with better songs. The clearest influence is Dio and Rainbow, with Gioeli’s vocals and the storming high fantasy sound. Wizards, oaths, demons, and everything in between dominate the lyrical content and the searing guitar follows suit.

Still, the approach is re-shuffled in interesting ways. The emphasis is on ultra-epic riffs and simple arrangements that keep everything going well past the seven minute mark. Even more interesting is how gloom-and-doom these high energy tracks really are: “Carousel”, “Gates of the Seven Seals”, and “Oceans of Time” all stick to minor melodies and atmospheric synths that keep the rockin’ positively bleak.

Between these rockers are a large number of monster power ballads punctuated by mid-range melodic solos, with the ten minute “Ashes From the Oath” being the best of the bunch. Half the track is dedicated to monumental fretwork that wraps around your mind, never growing repetitive and topping the ho-hum vocal melodies.

There’s a couple straightforward upbeat tunes buried under the larger-than-life behemoths. “Ride the Rainbow” and “Pay the Price” are awesome headbanging material. The latter features the corniest synth-choir vocals that crank the already over-the-top sound to full throttle. “Prelude to the Moon” goes even further: keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg rocks the harpsichord setting while Pell rips through the only outright shredding on the whole album.

And honestly, the whole album really rips. Pell knows what makes fantasy-themed metal great and he channels it better than most Iced Earths or Blind Guardians could ever hope to. I wish the drums were a little further up in the mix, but there’s a simple solution: turn this shit up until your ears bleed.

Oceans of Time is receiving its first ever vinyl release on June 3rd. I’d import this baby real quick before you accidentally buy something that sucks.



RüN – Psychic Love

junkheadv1tmbRüN – Psychic Love

In the late ’80s, short song noisecore became a popular genre. Bands like 7 Minutes of Nausea, Meat Shits, and Anal Cunt were releasing ten minute EPs allegedly containing hundreds of songs, all of which were short atonal blasts of guitar, drum, and vocal noise. The ’90s slowly took this to an obnoxious extreme, with groups like Deche-Charge making every release filled with thousands of half-second blorps. Noisecore faded back into the underground’s deepest depths, a place where it remains to this day.

RüN is a one-man project that revisits the style of noisecore’s pioneers, although there is some deviation. In between the noise are strange synthscapes and the moans of men in ecstasy, a reflection of RüN’s queer band identity. Previous album covers prominently feature graphic male homo-sex, which is honestly nothing shocking in the world of underground demos, but those albums also had more of a tinny, programmed blast-beat sound and varying vocal styles. There was little direction and the quality suffered as a result. On Psychic Love, the cover shows an image of Adam and Steve biting an apple. Just like Adam, RüN received a small taste of knowledge that pulled his head out of his ass. The grand realization is here: old school noisecore is the only way to go.

This release contains two tracks, each a collection of many thirty second noise assaults. The obvious digital recording makes everything a garbled mess, but RüN understands traditional noisecore enough that the awful sound plays to his advantage. Blast beats are replaced with random snare pounds and dominating cymbal crashes. The vocals are low goregrind barks, and while I’ve never been a fan of the toilet growl style, it actually works here with the treble-less assault.

I’m hoping RüN expands on this release, as I’ve perused the rest of his catalog and was only really impressed by Physic Love’s enraged aural explosions. This is true anti-music, abandoning all preconceived notions of listenability. It might not be the most original sound, but at least it never abandons its singular cause: fuck melody.



Micro-Reviewery 8: Randy and the RN’s, Horizon Chase OST, Red Wolf, PETFSB




Randy and The RN’s – Deezius Maximus

This one man indie pop sounds noisier and snottier than Weezer would ever want to be, but it gives everything a fringe edge. The lumbering “Karma Magnet” is my favorite, with abrasively jangling guitars providing a sweet steel wool bed for the whining summer melodies. Still, if the tempo’s were slightly sped up, Randy could probably shave a minute off every song and make them infinitely cooler.


Please Eat the Fucking Sandwich Bitch – 2

While this claims to be black metal, cybergrind, and post-rock, it’s really just FL Studios-core. No vocals, no cool melodies, no creativity, and a ton of that awful processed guitar sound. PETFSB’s mom probably tells him this stuff is super creative because she has little knowledge of underground music. Jay Decay of 50 Ways to Kill Me was making GOOD music like this back in the early 2000s, and all his music’s free here. Download his stuff and bang your head, forget eating a fucking sandwich or being called please bitch.



Barry Leitch – Horizon Chase Official Soundtrack

In a continuing effort to validify iPhone games, Horizon Chase developers knew they needed a booty-bustin’ veteran game musician. They got Barry Leitch, the Scottish man who crafted totally radical tunes for the Rush arcade series and Top Gear. While Rush was more about drum ‘n’ bass trash, the latter was all awesomeness and Leitch channels its power to great effect here. What’s funny is that despite retro chiptune junk being crammed down our throats for years, Horzion Chase is obviously crafted by a man who understands it, making a soundtrack that betters most loving memories of F-Zero and OutRun 2019. Some of the remixes tacked on are a little drab, but otherwise this is a classy effort.



Red Wolf – Hell is Other People

What the fuck is this? Red Wolf is evidently a poet, but do self-respecting poets normally appropriate famous Jean-Paul Sartre-isms for their album titles? Most writers probably wouldn’t slap a “Rated R” tag on tracks either, although most wouldn’t produce drivel like “My hands moving up your thighs/Into your ass my fingers now pry”. Sometimes there’s backing music, largely GarageBand pre-sets. His voice randomly spikes into an overtly distorted mess, as though the Wolf-man bought a computer microphone at the gas station. If that’s all the guy can afford, I’m surprised he can get anyone to “suck on [his] balls…/until [they’re] raping [Red Wolf] with [their] tongue”.



Micro-Reviewery 7: Richard Orofino, Mathrcool, Mother Room




Richard Orofino – Witches

New York bedroom singer-songwriter Richard Orofino understands that the best music gets its point across and gets the hell out. Take the opener “Dirty”: charming vocal melodies and short noise noodle solos are squeezed into an elegantly dirty two minute package. The first half artfully plods and pops with grungy pop skills, with the subtle dissonance of the title track standing out. When track four hits, acoustics take over and the drums back off. This honestly made me go back and replay the first three tracks repeatedly for about half an hour, but eventually I overcame my electric guitar biases and finished the remaining tracks. They were pretty good.


Mathrcool – Mathrcool

This weird electronic noise album is more frustrating than interesting. Synths and drum samples go off all over the place, from smooth ambient exercises to digital blast beat madness. “SUPERHEAVYDUTYAIDS” and “OUTOFTIMELSODLC” are all driving synth melodies and cool overdriven drum plows, but there’s too much throwaway hipster harsh noise you’ve heard a million times over. Even grosser: the actual guitar on “ARCTICMONKEYSAREFUCKIGNSHITESZ”. Probably a bad joke that I’m too unhip to understand.


Mother Room – Randolph Sessions

Earth worship’s cool again since it’s already twelve years passe, so guitar droners Mother Room benefit. Taken from a live session, these guys have an electronic mixing setup that gives their guitar throbbing a cool blizzard static backdrop. The ideas end there, but I’ll trip to that.


Rodent Blowjob Holocaust – My Momma Got AIDS From a Crack-Pipe

I always forget cybergrind is a thing, but thankfully My Momma Got AIDS From a Crack-Pipe is here to remind us that anyone with FL Studios can live out their goregrind dreams. Sadly, it doesn’t match my fond memories of Libido Airbag’s 2001 classic Barrel Blow Job. Maybe that’s because Rodent Blowjob Holocaust has discernible guitar riffs, a shocking misstep on the band’s part. The whole musicality thing ends up hurting what should be an anti-everything style; who wants decently played guitar over sloppy down-tuned synth farts?


Ted Poley – Beyond the Fade


junkheadv1tmbTed Poley – Beyond the Fade

Alessandro Del Vecchio is one of the coolest Italian melodic rock producers you’ll ever find. He has a knack for taking an old rock band/artist and tailoring arrangements that reflect their unique talents. At bat now is Danger Danger’s Ted Poley, a crazy singer who’s been preaching that ’80s politically correct love and peace message for 65 million years. Back in the day, all the T. Rex and Pterodactyls were eating up Poley’s newest single “Bang Bang” and checking out his live game at the Greensboro Coliseum circa 64,999,999 BCE.

Now, in 2016 AD, Vecchio manages to dress up Poley’s fossil by re-writing Stan Bush’s “The Touch” eleven times to great effect. Trite lyrics like “Lay down your loaded gun/You’ll be caught by the hands of love” and “Maybe my hearts doing time/We’re criminals guilty of the perfect crime” are masked by enough sparkly AOR makeup that you won’t even care.

The best example is “Stars”, an epic that’s as dynamic and genius as it is pompous and plastic. It’s hardly my definition of rock at all, yet you can’t help but feel elated by the pure melodic rush. The staccato pianos, bloated guitars, and bubblegum vocals are ultra high fructose, never letting up and always over-the-top.

If our lives were an ’80s teen martial arts drama film, this would have to be the soundtrack. You’re definitely not going to feel like Daniel-san all the time, but some days you will and Ted Poley anf Alessandro Del Vecchio  can get you through. Montages will play, chopsticks will catch flies, and asses will be kicked while the AOR gloss raises you up to the heavens.