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Bang Tango: Psycho Cafe (reissue)

The world of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock was changing drastically at the time that Bang Tango made their appearance and started to become a mystery sensation on the MTV Network. If you were a fan of the slowly rising Power Metal you hated this stuff because it knocked that genre to the side and even helped put a lot of the now labeled Traditional Metal and Rock bands off to the wayside as a "new order" was planned by the record companies. The interesting thing about Bang Tango was their getting signed to the powerful MCA Records without even so much as a demo but I guess the phrase of "it pays to know people" can be used for that or perhaps the company just felt there was something big in store for the group. Anyways, despite my own reservations about the bands impact they had a decent amount of fans and now thanks to the folks at Metal Mind Productions they can relive the bands earliest glory as they aimed to make a lasting imprint on Rock and Roll history. The label has re-issued the two full lengths and the live EP that were released on MCA in 1989 through 1991. Looking back on the bands major label debut Psycho Café, I had to say that depending on what kind of music you were listening to was going to effect your perception of the band. If you loved the likes of Guns 'N Roses, and perhaps bands from the Glam side like Faster Pussycat or even L.A. Guns in some sense you might enjoy them but if you were following the Power Metal scene, the popularity of this kind of band was only adding nails in the coffin of your genres visibility. As one of those kinds of listeners, I wanted to hear this band in the here and now and was glad to find the re-issue being done as this was a critical time in music history.

As an album, Bang Tango's Psycho Café was not all that bad as singer Joe LeSte, guitarists Mark Knight and Kyle Stevens, bassist Kyle Kyle and drummer Tigg Ketler really showcased some solid Groove Rock and Funk chops. The album starts off with "Attack Of Life" but it was the second tune "Someone Like You" that got some immediate airplay on the Rock radio stations of the time and the ever popular MTV countdowns of the day. I also enjoyed "Wrap My Wings" for its sleazy groove and "Love Injection" since I felt these were likely good songs in concert. The guys show off their ability to offer up a tasteful ballad with "Just For You" which is an acoustic tune. Listening to this whole thing so many years later I can safely say that it was alright for its time but easy to see how they didn't get all that far as a band based on too many other similar acts with similar sounds all touring the same circuit. The re-issue comes in a digipak case like most of the MMP releases and they offer up a twelve page booklet that seems to be a reproduction of the original release. There are lyrics and photos of all the members. In today's music scene, there are two Bang Tango's to enjoy if they are still your fancy. One finds the singer with other musicians and the other is the reverse of that configuration. This is a solid listen but one that is likely best for the bands longtime fans or music historians who focus on the genre and this point in time.

Track Listing:
1. Attack Of Life
2. Someone Like You
3. Wrap My Wings
4. Breaking Up A Heart Of Stone
5. Shotgun Man
6. Don't Stop Now
7. Love Injection
8. Just For You
9. Do What Your Told
10. Sweet Little Razor

Added: May 8th 2011
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2475
Language: english

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Bang Tango: Psycho Cafe (reissue)
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-05-08 14:38:09
My Score:

This re-issue of the debut disc from Bang Tango takes you back to a time when MTV was still a music outlet and a band's physical appearance were just as much a part of the picture as the music. Sure bands had to have something to offer sonically but the look that would transfer to video was just as important. This led to many bands where substance was outweighed by style. Such is the case with the glam/funk outfit Bang Tango. While they did support a lead singer who has a metal vocal style that falls somewhere between Stephen Pearcy and Jessie Dupree, this re-release shows how a talented band with a good voice to front it can fall into the trap of trying to become the next trendy metal act. Trying to be too slick, I would have liked to see them take this material and give it the edge it deserves instead of the gloss that this era was known for.

This is not to say that this is a bad album by any means. This disc is a riotous good time party mix that will fuel any hedonistic social gathering. Bang Tango touches on many of the popular musical trends of the time and in such a way that a diverse group of music aficionados will find solace in how the band hits on so many different genres. Wrapping them all in a slick glam musical blanket, some might find this style too syrupy for their taste. While they start out the disc with their most edgy and hardest song "Attack Of Life" and then follow it up with the very Jackyl sounding "Someone Like You" it really gets the glam treatment from there on out. The mash up of smokey blues with metal hits you with their next offering "Wrap My Wings" which brings back visions of very early Aerosmith but then they really go for the radio friendly sound with the very popish melody line in "Breaking Up A Heart Of Stone". This really is a contrast to the funky style they display later in the disc with songs like "Love Injection" and "Do What You're Told". The band does a good job with all they genres the hit upon but don't expect anything that can really be called unique. This is a good dose of the music that permeated the airwaves of the time and a very decent debut but there is nothing that you can really call stand out or endearing to the listener. While you might listen to it and enjoy, you may just as well forget it as soon as the disc ends.

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