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Dallas; John: Wild Life

A mainstay of the underground rock scene in Bologna, Italy, since the late 80s, John Dallas (aka Luca Stanzani) has long been influenced by the American rock scene of that time, bands such as Van Halen, Dokken, Queensryche and Guns n' Roses seen as his inspiration. However it's telling that the band he was part of in 2000 ended up naming themselves Afterlife, after the Dokken album of the same name, for on Wild Life (amazingly Dallas's debut release) it's that latter day sound that the US rock bands found by way of response to the all conquering 'G word' (grunge to you and me) that Dallas seems keen to relive. Hence this album reminds of the reformed era Dokken, or more pertinently, Mike Tramp's post White Lion, and much underrated, outfit Freak Of Nature.

While personally I was one of the few buying into what these bands, and others like Winger and Shotgun Messiah, were attempting in the face of a music scene going through overnight reinvention, most followers of those bands and that scene most certainly didn't. Hence it could be seen as an unusual starting point for Dallas, especially when MHR followers still refer to this now three decades old sound as 'modern' However putting that to one side and simply taking what Wild Life has to offer on its own merits, what Dallas has created with an unnamed set of musicians isn't half bad. The opening pair of "Under Control" and "Heaven Is" make their presence thoroughly felt through crunching guitars and a forceful attitude. Dallas may not be the most blessed singer you'll encounter and yet his enthusiastic bark works well in this setting. The album's title cut repeats the trick and sets things up well for the home stretch, however it's when Dallas decides to stretch himself that things go a little awry. "Freedom" slows things down in an attempt to infuse a little Cinderella, or Tesla blues, however the limitations in Dallas's voice and the simple production merely suck any atmosphere straight out of proceedings, while the mid-tempo but harder hitting "Psycho Game" fares little better. Add in the strangely industrial influenced "Love's Fake" and unfortunately an album that set itself up reasonably well, closes on a downer.

Considering that the bands who first tried to survive a musical tidal wave that was set to wash them away, completely failed to make an impact with this style, it's hard to know exactly who Wild Life is aimed at. The few of us who liked (and still do) the reactionary output their favourite bands suddenly appeared with as Kurt C, Eddie V, Layne S and Chris C swept aside all in their paths, may well find something to enjoy, but I doubt many more will.

Track Listing
1. Under Control

2. Heaven Is

3. Falling

4. Wild Life

5. Dreamin' On

6. Electric

7. Freedom

8. Psycho Game

9. Love's Fake

Added: April 24th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: John Dallas on Facebook
Hits: 1367
Language: english

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