HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

When Moonshine And Dynamite Collide (Mighty Loud)

Always had time for Jesse and his goofball southerners, and glad to see they are still making records. The personable idiosyncrasies are still there, but the core of this album is still very much raging party metal with a redneck twist. Things get right outta hand for 'My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine's Ass', while the title track is like a big bluesy power ballad to the power of letting off steam. Pretty crazy that they'd risk a song called 'Just Like A Negro' but there it is, all funky and Aerosmith.Not crazy about the synthetic drum sound, or at least the high, tight snare, and there are a few slightly under-written structures here, but all told, little fireworks are going off like sparks from a chainsaw. I swear, Jesse is sounding more like Brian Johnson every year though... I can see him taking over when Brian throws in the towel, as he's been hinting good-naturedly-no-big-deal for the last couple years. Love big stompers like 'Get Mad At It', 'cos that's where you get a bit of that Ted thing going, not only the bravado but the rhythm and blues as well, but as applied to free-burnin' hair metal of a snarling sort.
Rating 7.5

Cocoon (Angel Air)

Life is one of many bands cooked up by consummate UK melodic rocker Robin George over the years. Personally, I figure Notorious, his grouping and grooving with Diamond Head's Sean Harris is a masterpiece of pop metal, and that's what makes Cocoon quite the charmer as well, as it's Robin teaming up with current Diamond Head vocalist Nick Tart, back in '95 (first issued in '97 and now remastered and reissued), back before Nick hooked up with Tatler. Confused? No worries, just dig into Tart's slinky phrasings and Robin's smash hit-writing sensibilities, all with a little UK eccentricity and indeed unabashed "wimphem" grasp of pop sensibilities. The production is a bit stiffly, brashly electronic from the percussion end of things, but that's only a minor setback. The songs are sturdy, hooky, and enjoyable, although what this really has accomplished is making me chase Life with a l'il Notorious and modern Diamond Head.
Rating 6.5

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