Van Arx. There’s a name for ya. Not knowing what to expect at all, I cued up this Perris Records issue. The Stand Together for Rock and Roll album became available back in June. Holy crap! Ripping this off the hop with no pretense, the first sounds emanating from the speakers had me checking to see if it was a KISS “Detroit Rock City” cover. It’s not, but that’s seriously all I can hear right off and now that’s stuck in my head. I wonder if these guys paid Gene and Paul or is there a pending lawsuit? That initial reaction aside, Van Arx have delivered a great rock album. It’s jam-packed with 80s, 80s, and more 80s stylings. And fun…Steel Panther-ish without the vulgarity and way more fun.
Switzerland export Van Arx originally hit the scene in 1984. After achieving considerable local success according to the PR sheet, they disbanded in the early 90s. In 2014 they reunited and reignited their Van Arx passions. And now Van Arx present Stand Together for Rock and Roll. The membership roster reads: Tyler String (vocals/guitar), Jake Fake (vocals/guitar), Sticky Martin (drums) and Brewster Kickass (vocals/bass). Obviously silly aliases but if you ask me “Sticky Martin” just doesn’t sound right. And yes, they do have three lead vocalists! Well, that’s different!
VAN ARX – Stand for Rock and Roll
The PR sheet also states: “Powerful original songs with a deliberate nod to icons like KISS, Motley Crue, AC/DC, and many more.” See my first paragraph. In any event “Make My Day” starts off Stand Together for Rock and Roll. Featuring an infectious, if musically familiar chorus, this is a total 80s anthem that would have 16-year-old me jumping with fist raised high in concert. Hell, 44-year-old me was tempted to vault out of the chair! The album title track appears next, ramping down the pace a little in this radio-friendly melodic rocker. A little Brighton Rock-ish…or am I reaching here? Continuing that same feeling we head into “Stay Tonight”.
“Rock and Roll Master” is again hauntingly familiar, but I just can’t quite put a finger on it. A little heavier than the last couple of tracks, it’s like a Gene song compared to a Paul song from the KISS Revenge album. While there are several that could be considered my top choice cut, more often than not, I lean towards “Rock Battle”. At first listen I thought the chorus was “Rock Pile”, which would be great promo for my fave Toronto club The Rockpile! A fantastic solo in here as well. “Crazy” finishes up the first six of the twelve compositions.
When playing the rest of Stand Together for Rock and Roll, the back half does not slouch at all. It rips along in the same vein, but never loses your attention. Great songs such as “I Want Some Girls” and “Send the Devil to Hell”. Album closer,“You Like to Party (We Love to Rock)”, has an official video viewable below.
OK, the “Detroit Rock City” thing aside, this is a really fun album. The kind that you would have brought home that week from the record store, sat cross-legged on your floor, studying every word of the inlay, as you played it the first time, mouth open in awe. A throwback to those younger days. Several tracks have already gravitated their way into my MP3 playlist and while Stand Together for Rock and Roll may not make my top ten of the year, it’s solidly seated in the top 20!