Smash Fashion “Big Cat Love”
For those in the know, Smash Fashion are actually something of a rock n roll super group. Hailing out of LA they feature Johnny Depp’s old band Rock City Angel’s Lloyd Stuart Carson on guitar along with Nigel Mogg of the legendary Quireboys on bass. When you hear that lead vocals are handled by Roger Deering who is a Cheap Trick and Mott The Hoople fanatic then you get the feeling you might be on to something special with “Big Cat Love”.
That feeling is confirmed immediately with opener, “Wicked Ways” which is a great big, brash rock number. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a band so proud to deliver a rock song which has been built for an arena. They keep this up with “Marionette” which has a melodic rock sound with some great Ooh La Las in the background vocals. It also includes a huge guitar solo, the likes of which we haven’t really seen since the great sleaze rock scene of the eighties/early nineties.
That Quireboys background comes in to play on “Strike My Fancy (Knickers Down)” as it sees them add a bit more of a boogie woogie sound to give it that Stonesy feel. “Live To Tell” is similar with its slower tone but without ever moving in to an over sincere ballad.
“You Love To Suffer” has a ‘retro’ feel by being the mid album ballad. This is not the slow soppy one though, but instead is a damn fine, mid paced, power pop song like later period Cheap Trick. “Just A Kiss At The Starting Line” is similar in that it has a brilliant mix of both pop and rock. It’s the song that, back in the day, would have been huge on MTV (when they used to play music on it!). There would appear to be a huge Kiss influence on title track “Big Cat Love”. In fact, it would be hugely disappointing if they didn’t wear Peter Criss esque make up when playing this one! There is a brilliant bridge at the end which surely leads to a big audience participation section at a live show.
Ironically, “Super Glam” actually sees them adding a more ‘alternative’ sound which fights against the underlying T Rex feel. The album is, however, full of super glam songs and this is perfectly demonstrated by “Blame It On The Brandy”. This song has a huge sound and great sing a long chorus which is delivered with a great enthusiasm.
It has been a long time since an album has been released with such a real sense of fun. It’s all big rock choruses which will have you pulling your own rock poses as you sing along. It does provide a nostalgic reminder of days of big rock and even hair metal. Let’s face it though, no one else these days is really doing it as well as Smash Fashion. Also if we’re talking great songs which can be compared favourably to the classics of Kiss and Cheap Trick then what the hell is wrong with that!?!!?