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Roberts; Kane: Saints & Sinners

Back in 1983 a certain shock rocker under the name of Alice Cooper decided that his very own rock and roll circus was no longer an arena in which he wished to perform. In truth there was much, much more to Copper's "retirement" than disillusionment with music, meaning that it was no real surprise when three years later he returned with a new album and an all new band. Amazingly flanking the be-snaked rocker was a rippling mass of muscle, totting a machine-gun shaped guitar that shot rockets on stage. It wasn't Rambo, although you had to look twice at the naked torso and headband wearing Kane Roberts to make sure.

Along with the likes of bassist Kip Winger, Cooper and Roberts set about reinventing the Alice legacy, coming up with an altogether more melodic rock version of the schlock and roll his fans had come to expect. The Constrictor and to a greater extent Raise Your Fist And Yell albums providing a career shot in the arm that Alice Cooper is still benefiting from now, some 26 years later. Roberts not only performed on both albums, he actually played a large part in the songwriting on the pair, before departing to start a solo career. Although one which picked up less acclaim, or indeed hatred (thanks to Beavis And Butthead) than Kip and his band Winger. Releasing a self titled effort in 1987 (the same year as Raise Your Fist...), it would take Roberts a further four years to come up with Saints & Sinners, although the step up in class for album number two made the wait forgivable.

Surprisingly considering his track record with Alice, Roberts only co-wrote four of the ten songs that made his second solo outing, although the connection with Constrictor era Cooper is still clear to hear. A quick look through the writing credits reveals a who's who of the era, with Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Dianne Warren, Jack Ponti and hit-maker extraordinaire Desmond Child all lending their skills. Child himself produced the album, assuring that the end results are the sort of typical melodic hard rock that the mid-eighties served up with amazing regularity. Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, Kiss and in the backing vocals, debut album era Frehley's Comet are all brought to mind, although in all honesty, Saints & Sinners could be anyone from Black & Blue to Winger and everything in between. Which for someone like myself who still likes to travel back to that musical era on a regular basis means that Saints & Sinners is a mighty slab of melodic hard rock.

The track that received the most attention at the time and indeed brushed with chart success was the Jovi, Sambora, Child, Warren co-write "Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?" (also a hit for Cher). However S&S is so much more than a slightly better than run of the mill eighties power ballad, with "You Always Want It", "Wild Nights", "Fighter" and "Twisted" rocking hard and allowing Roberts to show off his six string talents. If big, blatant, unashamed, chant along choruses are your thing, you will love these songs and indeed every track on this forgotten slice of chart friendly rock. Roberts maybe doesn't have the strongest voice in the world. However with Child pushing the buttons and adding mountains of layers to the vocals, it is almost a moot point whether the man-mountain guitarist was as skilled in this area.

The first 500 copies of this well deserved Yesterrock reissue of Kane's finest moment comes with a second disc housing four bonus tracks (having these tracks presented separately really is a great idea, as it avoids breaking up the feel of the original release). Meaning that lovers of this album, or guitarist will want to get their copy early. Although in truth, those slow off the mark won't be missing out on songs up to the same standard as the ten from the original album.

Saints & Sinners didn't make the impact its songs deserved and Roberts would go on to make fewer and fewer forays into the music world, although notable collaborations ended up on albums as diverse as Revenge by Kiss and Every Beat by Rod Stewart. Since then Roberts has been working in graphic design and video games, but rumours of a new album persist, although let's hope it is better prepared than a woefully under rehearsed live outing at last year's Firefest festival in the UK. Either way Saints & Sinners is a fine and fitting way to relive an era wrongly maligned, through an album that delivers on almost every song.

Track Listing
1. Wild Nights
2. Twisted
3. Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?
4. Dance Little Sister
5. Rebel Heart
6. You Always Want It
7. Fighter
8. I'm Not Lookin' For An Angel
9. Too Far Gone
10. It's Only Over For You
1. House Burning Down
2. Waiting For You
3. Dirty Blonde
4. White Trash

Added: October 15th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Yesterrock
Hits: 2159
Language: english

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Roberts; Kane: Saints & Sinners
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-10-15 06:57:17
My Score:

Though it was released in the early '90s (a few years too late unfortunately) Saints & Sinners, the second solo ablum from former Alice Cooper guitarist Kane Roberts, just reeks of mid/late '80s melodic hard rock & metal. All the elements that drove most of us to music of this nature during that decade, the soaring anthemic choruses, the crunchy riffs, flashy, sizzling lead guitar solos, and mountains of backing vocals, are here in abundance. Tunes such as "Dance Little Sister", "Twisted", "Does Anybody Really Fall in Love", "Wild Nights", and "Dirty Blonde" seem tailor made for the glory days of MTV when Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, KISS, and Ratt ruled the roost. So many of these songs are just catchy as hell, featuring Roberts' more than capable guitar work and fairly solid vocals. It's just a shame that by 1991, the lust for this type of heavy music waned considerably, as grunge began to take over, and Saints & Sinners basically faded into obscurity and the muscle bound guitarist has barely been seen since. Those who still have a love for this era should seek out this reissue, and discover long lost gems like "Rebel Heart" and the addicting "Fighter" all over again or for the first time.

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