Havana Rocks: Star
The artwork on offer here is somewhat intriguing and I am wondering if the music inside has the same audacity and balls the model is displaying. Often a cover will tell you a lot about a band or their music.
Insert, press play and sit back...... retro sounding 80's rock has just hit town, a powerhouse of big guitar sounds courtesy of Tony Wright, Jason Fox' throbbing bass, Rick Henry' solid drumming all polished off with Andy Rowbothom' adept and attitude ridden vocals. The band has gone for that big American production sound, which has worked for so many bands of this ilk, a sound that has really benefited the band, wearing their influences on their sleeves, which incorporates bands such as Motley Crue, WASP, KISS to name but three.
This music was big in the eighties, and as there seems to be a bit of a resurgence of bands from this era, Havana Rocks may have found a little niche that they can fit into confidently. One of the major problems with new bands of this genre is the inability or weakness of the vocalist, something that Andy doesn't struggle with; Havana Rocks are a band with buckets of confidence and an ear for a good tune.
There is some really nice guitar work presented throughout, with some great lead breaks, which really adds a fluid dynamic, being backed up by time perfect drumming and succinct bass passages, which adds to the excitement. The lyrical content is generic, clichéd but fun, which will bring a smile to your face. The saving grace being that all eleven songs present are memorable, catchy and in no time you will be singing along, as if they were old friends from yesteryear.
The acoustic version of "Star" for me is by far the best song on the album, having a bluesy almost southern rock feel to it. This is definitely a song that has the potential to be massive, if it can be promoted correctly; aligned with the era that these tunes pay homage to, make no doubt about it, this song would have been. Just for the record, the electric version kicks ass too.
The band work through the rest of the album with confidence, the outstanding numbers being "Bad Boy Blues", "Same Old", "Mad Man" and "Crazy". The great thing about the album is that there aren't any fillers and the more you play the album the more it grows on you.
As a debut album Havana Rocks have really pulled it off, taking a mature attitude per se, presenting their ideology of rock. It will be interesting to see where the band goes with their sophomore release. What they need now to do now is get on a tour and show the world what they can do.
I love this album in the same way that I loved Marseille' second album, which has stuck by me for all these years having lost none of its energy, which I think this album will have the same effect. You are not going to be intellectualised with what is presented here, but make no bones about it, you WILL be entertained.
To answer my initial question is a big emphatic YES. Rock 'N' Roll.
1) Animal In Me
2) Be Someone
5) All You People
6) Mad Man
9) Bad Boy Blues
10) Same Old
11) Star (acoustic)
Added: December 10th 2010
Reviewer: John OBoyle
Related Link: www.myspace.com/havanarocks
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