Roxie77 “The AmeriSwede EP”
Ryan Roxie is one of those musicians who may not be a household name hear in the UK but has been involved in a staggering number of great bands over the years. He is also one of the current guitarists in Alice Cooper’s band which says a hell of a lot about both his ability and reputation in the rock n roll world. Not satisfied with all that, he has now released this latest effort under the Roxie 77 moniker. It is also a somewhat unusual release where each of the songs is repeated, one with an American production and one with a Swedish production.
The first track, “Idiots & Idols” is a quite glorious pop rock record that is as catchy as hell. The American version, as you would expect, is very shiny, brash and confident. It really should be a hit song having featured on a huge teen flick. This pop/rock feel is kept going with “The Solution” but this song does have a darker edge. Indeed the sleazy guitar line makes you fully realise why Ryan is part of Alice Cooper’s band. The chorus, however, is far too cheery for Mr Cooper!
The beautiful and dreamy opening on “Downtown” comes as a bit of a surprise but we are soon back into a fizz glam pop/rock number. It actually has an Enuff Z’ Nuff feel to it, thanks to the chugging guitar line and Donnie esque vocals. “Silent Confrontation” is perhaps more what we would have expected as it is a more pop metal type track. In contrast, “Anna” is a surprisingly mature pop song. It has a real country feel to it, well country mixed with perfect Beatles pop.
The final song is “Simpleton Girl” which has an opening very similar to “That’s Entertainment” by The Jam. The rest of the song is yet another glorious pop/rock song with a hint of rockabilly to it. It is the kind of track that we have come to expect from Butch Walker, which is a big compliment.
On the Eps we get to hear all the ‘American’ productions first and then the tracks are repeated with the Swedish versions”. To be honest, the subtlety of the production and different mixes are a bit wasted on our unsophisticated ears. It is true that there is generally a feeling that the Swedish versions have the ‘pop’ side of the songs ramped up and with a bit of the shine and glitz removed. Certainly on “The Solution” there is an even darker tone with a more muted, sleazier sound. Also, and this may just be our stereotyping, but there is almost a hint of Euro pop to the Swedish “Downtown”.
The brilliance of this album has actually come as a genuine surprise. There was never going to be a doubt over the quality of the musicianship given Ryan’s track record. However, to be able to produce six brilliant pop/rock songs like this is pretty special. As we have already said the subtlety of the two mixes are wasted on cloth ears like us. However, the huge advantage of this concept is that you get to hear each of the amazing tracks twice without even having to press play again! Although you might still find yourself hitting repeat as even hearing them four times in a row might not be enough!!!