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Lynch Mob: The Elektra Years - 1990-1992

If guitarist George Lynch is one thing, he’s honest. Maybe too honest, the mega-talented six-string man giving frank accounts of both himself and his band in the liner notes of this Cherry Red/HNE reissue of the first two albums from Lynch Mob, the outfit he formed with drummer Mick Brown when the pair continued working together after the disintegration of Dokken. Not only does Lynch give quite harsh comment on the band’s then vocalist Oni Logan - who went on to rejoin Lynch Mob no less than five times until they came to an end in 2020 - but also how some of his own choices impacted on the band’s failure to achieve the success they might have.

Their debut was called Wicked Sensation and it saw the light of day in 1990 through Lynch’s old band's label, Elektra - Lynch Mob comprising of Lynch, Logan, Brown and bassist Anthony Esopsito - as the guitarist set about proving that he could still make an impact without Don Dokken by his side. Wicked Sensation did exactly that, the main-man’s trademark, fiery riffs and searing solo style harnessed into a bluesier but no less hard rocking direction. Logan, who Lynch reveals gave the band ‘no end of trouble’ as they tried to lock in his vocals, actually sounds a million dollars on the album, although the singer himself admits in the essay by Malcolm Dome that four of the debut’s twelve cuts find the vocals from the band’s demos being used in place of the new recordings that were laid down especially for the album. However, for fans, of which I was undoubtedly one, back in 1990, the effect was mesmerising. The album kicked into gear at full velocity, the title track, and lead single (of which the single-edit is included here as the sole disc one bonus track) the proud exponent of a superb, low slung, bluesy but still hard rocking riff and one which Logan owns through a rich, full vocal tone that soars impressively. The standard seldom slips across the twelve cuts, with “Sweet Sister Mary” vying for the spot as this record’s most memorable moment.

I must admit that at the time of this album’s release I thought that very little of it sounded like Lynch’s previous work with Dokken, but hindsight and many years have made it easier to hear some trademark phrasings and pacing in the songs, even if you can’t really imagine much here going Tooth And Nail, or heading Back For The Attack. “She’s Evil But She’s Mine”, is a mid-paced, low slung blues-buster, “No Bed Of Roses” possesses a groove a mile wide, while the vocal howl and insistent guitars of “Street Fightin’ Man” make it arguably this album’s most underrated moment, especially when you hear its guitar solo - an aspect this album unsurprisingly brims over with.

Wicked Sensation, however, didn’t set the world alight in terms of sales in the way its songs deserved and maybe because of that Lynch steered his ship in a different direction. Logan was dumped in favour of another unknown in the shape of singer Robert Mason, while the producer of the debut, Max Norman, was replaced by Keith Olsen - a move Lynch now deeply regrets. Understandably, the new man behind the production desk quickly set about re-Dokken-ising the Lynch Mob sound but in all honesty, the results ended up landing in a kind of no man’s land between where Olsen intended and what Lynch Mob had achieved on their hard rocking’, bluesy debut. And given that grunge was now in the game, it was exactly the move the band shouldn’t have been making.

Personally I recall struggling to connect with this self titled effort but the years have rectified that situation quite some way and the likes of “No Good” and “Jungle Of Love” hit hard both through the tight structured guitars and the excellent solos Lynch always provides. Mason too gives a really good account of himself, the liner notes revealing that the newcomer was given vocal lines to follow from no less a legend than Glenn Hughes, which he did without a hitch. The frontman sounds remarkably Don Dokken like on the slower, excellent, “Dream Until Tomorrow” (which was released as a single) and is also hugely effective in that style, while “Heaven Is Waiting” finds the rhythm section of Brown and Esposito hitting their groove-tastic stride and then some. Arguably, however, having the first single be a ballad and then the second, “Tangled In The Web”, possess stabs of brass, didn’t help remove any confusion that the band’s fans might have felt. And when you add in a ho-hum version of Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down”, in some ways it’s actually quite easy to understand why a perfectly good album got pretty much lambasted on release by the critics and ignored by the fans. Here the disc is rounded out by the two then exclusive Japanese tracks, “Love Finds A Way” and “Love In Your Eyes”, both of which are interesting additions, especially the latter.

From here George Lynch would be tempted back to Dokken for a couple of less than inspiring albums, before resurrecting Lynch Mob once more, this time with a third new singer, Kirk Harper helming a scene chasing rock/rap/nu-metal album, Smoke This, that, as Lynch laughs now, had fans calling the band Lynch Bizkit! A further five albums have appeared under the same monicker, but in all honesty, it’s still these two albums which really tell you what Lynch Mob were all about. Add in the excellent liner notes, a strong remaster and the inclusion of the few bonus tracks to come from the era and arguably this is the best way to experience them.

Track Listing
DISC ONE: Wicked Sensation (1990)
1. Wicked Sensation
2. River Of Love
3. Sweet Sister Mercy
4. All I Want
5. Hell Child
6. She's Evil But She's Mine
7. Dance Of The Dogs
8. Rain
9. No Bed Of Roses
10. Through These Eyes
11. For A Million Years
12. Street Fightin' Man
Bonus track
13. Wicked Sensation (Edit)

DISC TWO: Lynch Mob (1992)
1. Jungle Of Love
2. Tangled In The Web
3. No Good
4. Dream Until Tomorrow
5. Cold Is The Heart
6. Tie Your Mother Down
7. Heaven Is Waiting
8. I Want It
9. When Darkness Calls
10. The Secret
Bonus Tracks
11. Love Finds A Way
12. Love In Your Eyes

Added: September 4th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lynch Mob at Cherry Red
Hits: 965
Language: english

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