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Mattsson, Lars Eric: Hot & Able 1983-85

Although made available initially some six years ago, the history of Hot And Able stretches back into the mid 80s when guitarist Lars Eric Mattsson was just beginning his journey into the music world with his then band Joe Cool. Although they never got signed at the time the young band did put together and ‘road test’ a lot of material which then sat in Mattsson’s vaults until 2014. Now, given a second (or should that be third?) life via digital services, Hot And Able - the very name belies the era these tracks were first conjured - sees the light of day again.

Initially fronted by an unnamed female singer, Mattsson has decided to re-record the vocals himself here, while using the drum tracks from his then band mate Olle Sjöstrand for percussive inspiration. The results, as you may expect from a guitarist who has gone on to become one of the leading lights at the more pyrotechnic end of the Neo-Classical rock spectrum, never land too far from the likes of Rainbow, or his chief follower, Yngwie Malmsteen, and so maybe it’s no shock that Alcatrazz also springs to mind, given the mid-eighties landscape in which these songs were written.

Having altered some of the lyrics to better fit more current times, for me, one of the weaknesses here are what sounds like quite obviously ‘aided’ vocals, with a synth like quality at times augmenting and at others, hindering what we hear. “See The Stars”, where a jazzy breakdown is introduced mid-song is one of the worst offenders in this sense, but then when the sympathetic but still hugely energetic guitar solo kicks in, it’s easy to overlook some of these updated vintage tracks’ shortcomings.

With sixteen cuts in all there’s a lot to take in as you journey through this backwards glance at Mattsson’s early years. However, with the class on show including the likes of the fast and frantic “Rock The Nations”, the more introspective “Enola Gay” and full on guitar gyrations of “This Wolf Hunts Alone”, it’s a voyage well worth taking. Yes, there’s maybe a naivety that’s understandable given these songs origins, but there’s also a welcome slice of nostalgia in the styling. Factor in that even then Mattsson had mastered his chosen instrument and there’s no doubt that he was, just as he remains to this day, Hot And Able.

Track Listing
1. Hot and Able
2. Takes One Fool
3. Run Tonight
4. Left Out in the Cold
5. See the Stars
6. Scarlet
7. Don’t Think It’s Love
8. This Wolf Hunts Alone
9. Lay Down Your Sword
10. Rock the Nation
11. The Dream Has Gone
12. Don’t Throw Away
13. Enola Gay
14. Stranger in Your Own Land
15. Eyes of a Liar
16. Out on My Own

Added: April 21st 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lars Eric Mattsson online
Hits: 535
Language: english

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