A long time ago in a distant Province & State, my homeland if you will; Quebec, and along with that the cross-border shopping (because way back then it was so much fun to make a day trip to Plattsburg, NY just an hour south of Montreal for shopping), Taco Bell and the multitude of offerings that stayed away from “La Belle Province”. Not to mention the great records you could find in American stores you just couldn’t in Canada, not even in Montreal, not even at MARS for those Montrealers that recall that phenomenal record store. This time, the story is in Massena, NY, and a much further drive especially in the middle of winter but we were up for an adventure, and my girlfriends’ older brother was driving. I can now digress because this is where the real story begins. I walk into a dollar store while my girlfriend (who would become my wife and lifelong music loving partner!), her Mother and Brother are off shopping as well and there it is; a bin of cassette singles. Oh, I loved the CS! The treasure I had found was “Man With No Eyes” by Michael Monroe, the B-side being the much played on MuchMusic/MTV “Dead, Jail, or Rock n’ Roll”. I was glad to find the song I had heard and loved, little did I know the single “Man With No Eyes” would hit me between the eyes and from there my love of Michael Monroe music began and has continued to this very day. Yes, I knew who Hanoi Rocks was and liked them too, that is another story.
Here we are in 2015 and Michael has released another fine example of what makes him, and his band, sound so very good. Blackout States is a must if you are a fan, if you aren’t or have not given their music a try, start now, indulge often and discover the back catalogue too, all of it including Hanoi Rocks. I have to say, I am duly impressed by the never going away Michael Monroe who has stayed active and true to his style of rock n’ roll for more than 3 decades.
“This Ain’t No Love Song”: Out of the gate fast and furious, it certainly is not a love song and it sure starts the record with the greatness of the Michael Monroe band. Fast, crunching wicked backing vocals.
“Old King’s Road”: This is the single release and I can hear why. A bit of a reminiscent story sounds great and I get the feeling a tad tongue in cheek. Solid single!
“Goin’ Down With The Ship”: A regular every day Michael Monroe song, which is a good thing. Great harmonizing and fine guitar work.
“Keep Your Eye On You”: Love the start with the tribal sounding drums and guitar! Throw in a whoahh-oh vocal and I am hooked. Backing vocals are absolute killer!
“The Bastard’s Bash”: More of a 60’s guitar effects groove here, and it works for me paired with the vocals and high hat front and center.
“Good Old Bad Days”: Oh how I love saxophone and this rockin’ tune is utilizing it so well. Once again solid backbeat and crunchy guitar work by Steve Conte.
“R.L.F.”: A punk oriented tune in all aspects. I think Ruck Like F&^% is the chorus. Classic Monroe harmonica too!
“Blackout States”: This song is so good, so very good, ‘nuff said!
“Under The Northern Lights”: I think I hear some bagpipes, oh yeah!
“Permanent Youth”: Oh how this song speaks to my own mindset. Horns aplenty too!
“Dead Hearts on Denmark Street”: Another punk style rocker, solid!
“Six Feet in the Ground”: Love the front forward bass from Sami on this tune! One of the best choruses I have heard! Killer guitar sounds.
“Walk Away”: Oh they want to kick some arse with the final song of the record, and they do!
Once again Michael, Sami, Rich (thx for the update Micke!), Steve, and Karl deliver a solid record oozing with rock n’ roll credibility from all, hence so many stand out songs. I highly recommend, encourage and whatever the latest buzzwords are to convince you to get this record!
Standout songs: “This Ain’t No Love Song” / “Old King’s Road” / “Keep Your Eye On You”/ “Good Old Bad Days”/ “Blackout States”/ “Six Feet in the Ground”
– Blair De Abreu