Tag Archives: april wine

Eugeology #11 – Montrose

Gotta say this up front for this album: I’ve never been a Sammy Hagar fan. Wasn’t a big fan of his solo stuff, and didn’t like his stint with Van Halen either. I can’t explain why, but I just never liked his approach to singing.

So, that being said listening to this album was kind of hard. Basically, I got tired of Hagar about halfway through the second song so I just tried to concentrate on the rest of the band as I listened.

Using my kindergarten grading system that I introduced with the last album I ended up giving this one a straight √. It might have been a √+ if anyone but Hagar had been singing, but since the lead singer is obviously a HUGE part of the band it’s awful hard to overcome that.

For instance, I really liked the start of I Don’t Want It but as soon as Hagar got into the action I just kinda had an, “ugh” reaction. Still, when Ronnie Montrose’s guitar was front and center I was really liking it. Honest to goodness that was true with almost every track of this album, so let’s just say that if you could eliminate the vocals this would be a + album.

As with UFO (Eugene’s last selection), I really enjoyed the long, 70s-style jams. If you’re a fan of that and don’t have the same problem with Hagar that I do, then you’ll like this one.

I’ve intentionally avoided reading Eugene & Tim’s reviews so that they don’t skew mine, but if I had to guess I’d say they don’t feel the same way about Hagar that I do. Wish I could explain why he has that effect on me, but it is what it is, so I’m prepared for Eugene to give me his flabbergasted look.

Links & Notes

Montrose Wikipedia Page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too

Eugeology #10 – UFO’s Strangers in the Night

Thank God for Wikipedia. Without it, I would have had no idea this pick of Eugene’s is considered by many aficionados to be one of the best live albums. Until he sent the link to me and Eugene I’d never heard of UFO’s Strangers in the Night, but thanks to the wonders of the internet I can pretend to have known that Slash stated this is his favorite live album.

As I stated on the last post, I’m way behind in my Eugeology listening so I’ve come up with a system to expedite my listening and reviewing: until I get caught up I’m simply keeping a playlist of the songs on the album and scoring the songs thusly: If I like the song it gets a “+”, if I think it’s passable I give it a “√” and if I don’t like it I give it a “-“. You might recognize this as the same scoring kindergarten teachers use.

So, using my system the album gets a very solid “√+”, without a single track getting a “-” and more getting “+s” than “√s.” I was going to list my favorites here, but as I listened that list got pretty damn long so suffice it to say I really like the majority of them.

What I loved about the band: lead guitar. Dude really brought it, and to my untrained ear it didn’t sound like he missed a thing. Since guitarist Michael Schenker played with the Scorpions, who I loved back in the day, I’m pretty sure I’m biased.  I also thought drums and bass were strong, but I’m no expert. Vocals were pretty good too, but as with every live album I’ve ever heard the vocals are overtaken by the instruments. In the end I really think Schenker carried the day.

What I loved about the album: solid, classic 70s-style concert jamming, which is why I really liked Love to Love (8 minutes) and Rock Bottom (11 minutes and the guitar solos are truly “Holy hell!” worthy).

Going to have to thank Eugene for turning me on to this one.

Links & Notes

Strangers in the Night Wikipedia Page

UFO Wikipedia Page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too

Eugeology #9 – The Cult’s Electric

I am WAAAAY behind on my Eugeology posts, but that’s the price I pay for, well, living. You see my (much) better half and I recently celebrated our 25th anniversary and all the related planning, traveling and other such really put a dent in my free time. So, I’m going to be listening to a bunch of bands and posting my vapid and uninformed thoughts about them over the next few days.

This week’s band is one of my favorites from the late 80s and early 90s, The Cult and the album is Electric. The first time I heard them was also the first time I saw them; it was a performance on a late show (I don’t remember which one) and I was entranced by singer Ian Astbury. The combination of his stage presence and his incredibly distinctive voice was something to behold, and I thought it definitely set them apart from the rest of the crowd at the time.

I’m much more familiar Sonic Temple, which was the album they produced after Electric, but there were a few tracks on this I recognized. Love Removal Machine is probably the song the average schmo like me would have heard, but I’d also heard Wild Flower and their cover of Born to Be Wild (not a great cover BTW).

What I’ve always loved about The Cult is that you always know it when you hear them. As I’ve already said Astbury is one of the most distinctive singers around, but I’d also say that Billy Duffy on guitar has a pretty recognizable style, although some of his solos fall prey to the <insert solo here> arrangement. In other words they feel a little gratuitous.

This is a solid album, but if I had to pick I’d go for Sonic Temple as their better album. If you’re looking for a little harder edge, old school rockin’ then this is definitely worth your time, but if your time is limited then go with the later album.

Links & Notes

Electric Wikipedia Page

The Cult Wikipedia Page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too

Eugeology #8 – April Wine’s Harder Faster

Apparently Tim and Eugene were flabbergasted by my dislike of last week’s selection. Hell, I thought I was being nice by not even mentioning the ridiculous band name, but whatever Enuff was definitely not enough. Or maybe it was too much.

This week’s selection is the exact opposite of last week’s: great band name and a great album.

What’s not to love? Great vocals throughout – their background vocals are outstanding – and lots of really good guitar play from beginning to end. And there’s no feel to any of them, which is what I described in last week’s review as “gratuitous solos.” Everything just fits. Oh, and I particularly enjoyed the bass on 21st Century Schizoid Man. As the kids say these days, that *&it was tight.

I’m no expert, but to my amateur ears these guys are just a really, well, tight band. The album clocks in at around 32 minutes, so there’s no wasted motion in any of these tracks. Short, full of hooks, and as I mentioned before the vocals and guitars are just fantastic.

Eugene keeps picking albums like this one and I’ll be a very happy man.

Links & Notes

Harder Faster Wikipedia Page

April Wine Wikipedia Page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too