Michael Monroe - Sensory Overdrive
Accurately titled "solo" album from erstwhile Hanoi Rocks frontman.
While most would remain convinced that the Andy McCoy / Michael Monroe chemistry is unbeatable, this band gets damn close.
And what a star studded lineup - Ginger (Wildhearts), Sam (HR) Yaffa, Karl Rockfist (not his real name, apparently) and Steve (Company Of Wolves, remember them/ New York Dolls / Crown Jewels - I have their much treasured, 'Linoleum' album) Conte.
Probably because of his work on the New York Dolls' recent comeback album, veteran music man Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper) was expensively brought in to produce.
Much of today's rock'n'roll has degenerated into pro-tooled, prefabricated, flatpack blandness, so it's a genuine joy to hear 'Sensory Overdrive', Douglas captures all the raw energy and underlying punk vibe that fuels this new band, wrapping it up in a prickly sheen of studio polish.
Fortunately, he also has the nous to tap in to the street-smart pop sensibilities of other unconventional giants, like The Stones and Mott, ensuring the engagingly melodic components of songs like 'Modern Day Miracle' and 'Bombs Away' get just as much focus as the visceral, volcanic riffage and the punchy, pulsing rhythms.
Ginger has always been a champion of the true rock'n'roll spirit - a torch bearer for searing, elemental rock anthems if you will, and his songwriting imprint is all over this album like a full body tattoo.
The punchier, slap in the face tracks come early.
'Trick Of the Wrist' and '78' get in quick, launched by spring loaded, needle-in-the-red riffs. Monroe sprays barbed lyrics around like an Uzi on auto, and then they're gone.
'Superpowered Superfly' slows the tempo a little. This wonderfully titled track is just one of several contenders for album standout. It's a muscular, flawless, two and a half minute joyride, rising on a gorgeous rush of ringing guitars, twisting through several heartstopping melodic moments. 
Lyrically, 'All You Need' resolves all those angsty insecurities with a healthy dose of philosophical thinking. Match that to rich harmonies, a razor sharp hook and a Beatlish melody and you have a classic pop/rock gem.
'Later Won't Wait' and 'Center Of Your Heart' follow down the same road - hook heavy, melody laden - tight and pacy, but still compelling mixtures of sharply written, caustic lyrics and on-the-edge musicianship.
Neither of the guest vocalists seem an obvious fit for any band that includes Monroe, Ginger or Conte, but Lucinda Williams more than holds her own, belting out the country rock 'Gone Baby Gone' - melancholy of mood, celebratory of lyric - standing toe to toe with Monroe.
'Debauchery As Fine Art' - a rework of 'Motorheaded For A Fall' - seems to have alienated Motorhead fans, but we all know nobody likes change etc etc, so that was always going to be hard nut to crack. Monroe tackles the song with unbridled enthusiasm and Lemmy's presence only turns the song into an homage rather than a cover. Jury's still out on that one I think.
What goes before renders that last thought inconsequential though, as 'Sensory Overdrive'  is a genuinely thrilling and satisfying album, one you can go back to time and time again, making it a real contender for album of the year, only 4 months in.

Written by Brian
Monday, April 25, 2011
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Rating: 9.5/10
Great effort, not his first solo work but looks like a beginning of what it may be a very ... · Read more ·

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Review by vanbasten6247 (Member) - Tuesday, April 26, 2011
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Ratings: 1
Great effort, not his first solo work but looks like a beginning of what it may be a very fruitful adventure with all those great musicians. The difficult thing here, I guess, will be keeping that very same team working togheter in order to deliver more albums (seems not very likely but I keep my hopes high), at least the Moore/Ginger binomial. Love the album, I'm playing it everytime I can (vinyl), is (as the reviewer states) a breeze of fresh air among so many generic rock protooled bands.

Rating: 9.5/10

Posted by vanbasten6247
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review by Brian

Released by
Spinefarm / Universal Music - 2011

Trick Of The Wrist
Got Blood
Superpowered Superfly
Modern Day Miracle
Bombs Away
All You Need
Later Won't Wait
Gone Baby Gone
Center Of Your Heart
Debauchery As A Fine Art


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Michael Monroe - Official Website

Other articles
Whatcha Want - (Michael)

Band Information - (Michael)

Not Fakin´ It - (Michael)

Another Night in the Sun - (Michael)

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