Sweet & Lynch – Only To Rise

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A new project from George Lynch can only mean he’s already looking for another new project.  Since Sweet & Lynch just dropped January 27th you know he’s already re-booting some incarnation of Lynch Mob, finding out if Jeff Pilson has some time between Foreigner tours or having lunch with Don Dokken.  Right around the time I heard his last band KXM released their debut record I heard about Sweet & Lynch.  If my body was capable of manufacturing thought bubbles the one above my head that day would’ve read “Why?” 
Without dedicating too much space on the topic, this trend of constant collaborations of artists who last cashed a five figure check in 1988 is, to be kind, overwhelming.  The music typically offered up by these unions is instantly forgettable and on the off chance you actually like it, the odds of seeing them live are slightly better than me being named People magazine’s sexiest man alive.  Slightly.  I’ve heard some claim it as a cash grab but who exactly is grabbing the cash and where is the cash coming from.  This movement wreaks more of throwing shit against a wall and seeing what sticks.  I suppose we have Sixx AM to blame for that. 
 
So why?  Why Sweet & Lynch?  Was Oz Fox the weak link in Stryper?  Michael Sweet has better hair than Don?  I can listen to everything Dokken did through Back For The Attack.  But I could never take Stryper seriously.  Too much shtick.  They weren’t just Christian rock, they were also striped.  Not just their clothes but their guitars, drums, stage and bibles were striped.  And not just any color.  Only yellow and black.  Three gimmicks is too much.  You are already pushing it with the whole God thing.  God belongs outside the Arena holding a picket sign as far as I’m concerned.  And now I have you asking why?  Why am I writing a review of an album that without even hearing I’ve already given two strikes? 
Because I like it. 
One thing that gives this record a pass others don’t is the name.  It offers no premise of this being an actual band.  It’s two once titans of a scene long gone supported by a rhythm section of “I was the guy who replaced the guy.”  To be fair James Lomenzo was the original bass player in White Lion before he was the bass player in Pride and Glory, Zakk Wylde solo, Ace Frehley and Megadeth but Brian Tichy is too good of a drummer to be the guy who replaced the guy who replaced the guy in Whitesnake, Lynch Mob, Foreigner, Ozzy and Billy Idol to not wonder what’s wrong with him. 
 
But I dig this record.  I texted a friend of mine that last night.  It took a few back and forth texts to convince him I was serious.  And no one is more surprised than me.  This is better than I expected.  I expected a Dokken record with Stryper vocals.  And while you definitely get that, this record manages to kick some ass.  And it’s very well produced by Michael Sweet himself.
The second song on the record, Dying Rose, is killer but the opening track is so good I keep hitting the back button.  The Wish is a song I wish I wrote.  Michael has the type of voice that weakens with age and their is no sign of that here.  He sounds as good as he ever has.  In fact this may be the best he ever sounded.  As for George, he has a reputation for using his natural talent to chase trends.  But Gawdammit ole Lynchie pulls it off.  Sounding both current without losing himself.  This record features some of his best work of recent.
Standout tracks:  The Wish, Dying Rose, Recover and even though it borrows heavy from Kashmir, the song Strength In Numbers is pretty strong.  As for low points… Me Without You not only sounds like Alone Again from Dokken it actually borrows the melody.  Hero-Zero just sucks and I think the song September (It’s about 9/11) is just a bad idea.  It’s difficult to write a song about such an event that both pays proper respect while also being a believable song.  I feel it’s best just to leave it alone.  And this song just doesn’t deliver.   
Maybe this time of year is good for Frontiers Records as my album of the year for 2014 was Red Dragon Cartel and it was released close to this time last year.  This is a better than good record and in my “expert” opinion is at least in the conversation of the best work from both Michael Sweet and George Lynch. 
If the music is what matters then buy this record.  I’d have a different view of all these “Super” groups if the end product was this solid.  It sucks that great musicians aren’t allowed to grow old in America.  Sweet & Lynch are two “has beens” at the top of their game and we should give this record its due.  Do a couple of old rockers a solid and pick up a copy of this.  I personally can account for three sales on the day it came out.  Only 999,997 away from a platinum award. 

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