Michael Monroe “Blackout States”
There is no doubt that Michael Monroe is a rock n roll survivor. He’s a man who has really epitomised sleaze, rock n roll since his days in the legendary Hanoi Rocks, through the sadly short lived Demolition 23 and now his solo material. You can’t help but feel that if you cut him open, there would be the words rock n roll written right through him.
First song, “This Ain’t No Love Song” is certainly an indication that there is certainly no desire to slow down. Along with “Old King’s Road” they’re inspired gutter rock songs, full of attitude and bravado. Even back in his Hanoi days, Michael Monroe has recognised the benefit of a chorus that you can join in with and that’s certainly the case with “Goin Down With The Ship”.
Amongst all the punk sneer though, this album has some of the most ‘commercially’ appealing songs since his classic “Not Fakin’ It”. This includes the wonderful “Keep Your Eyes On You” which has a really appealing simplicity to it and the title track “Blackout States” is a brilliant pop/rock song. Whilst, “Northern Lights” starts off like a ‘typical’ rock ballad before developing into yet another really catchy tune.
We wouldn’t want you to think that he has gone all soft though. Songs like “The Bastard’s Bash” and “R.L.F” are a couple of the most abrasive tracks he has done. Maybe that’s a result of the inclusion of Rich Jones, ex Black Halos and The Loyalties. This album really excels when it blends the punk instinct with the appreciation of a great rock n roll track. There are countless examples of this, including “Permanent Youth” and “Dead Hearts On Denmark Street”, which recalls Rocket From The Crypt’s ‘On A Rope’ mixed with a great glam rock song. Whilst “Walk Away” is all Sex Pistol’s sneer.
The really great thing about this album, is the sheer joy and enthusiasm that comes from the songs. We’re honestly not sure how Mr Monroe does it! Maybe it’s the way he constantly refreshes his band but maintains the musicianship and the understanding of what real rock n roll is all about. He has certainly kept the rock n roll spirit alive on yet another great album. Indeed, this may well be his finest release since “Not Fakin’ it” which is very high praise indeed.