Title - 'Blackout States'
Artist - Michael Monroe
Matti Antero Kristian Fagerholm aka Michael Monroe has been recording and performing - from vinyl through to digital - for over four (4) decades now! Indeed, the Finnish rock musician and multi-instrumentalist, who rose to fame as the vocalist for the glam punk band Hanoi Rocks, has had a triumphant couple of years since the release of his last studio album, Horns And Halos (2013).
Monroe's brand new album, out on Spinefarm/Universal Records this Autumn, is called Blackout States and it is a true, old school musical flashback to the good old, raw days of rock 'n' punk. Recorded in March under the guidance of producer Chips Kiesbye in Gothenburg, himself best known for his work with Nomads, Sator, The Hellacopters, amongst others, Blackout States is the best Monroe has sounded in a long time.
We kick off this old school rockin' punk show with the rebel rousing 'This Ain't No Love Song, before heading deliriously into the quite stunning 'Old King's Road.' A tribute to lovers meeting, back in the day, on Chelsea's high street, moreover one that still, to this day, has a reputation for being one of London's most fashionable shopping streets, it could so easily have been written 40 years back.
The mid-tempo vibe of 'Goin' Down With The Ship' is next and is a jolly sing-along, for sure. You can just imagine drunken scallywags, down on the docks, standing on the old wooden pub tables, behind closed doors, swillin' beers, all hugging in unison, singing and swigging in equal measures. The more foot-off-the-pedal pop rock of 'Keep Your Eye On You' is then backed by the punkier 'The Bastard's Bash' and then the rollicking 'Good Old Bad Days.'
Monroe, together with bassist Sami Yaffa, drummer Karl Rockfist, and both Steve Conte and, replacing Dregen, Rich Jones on guitars, tackle the speed demon of 'R.L.F.' [aka 'Rock Like F**k'] head on, before that more melodic punky attitude comes to the fore again on the title track, 'Blackout States.' The mid tempo ballad 'Under The Northern Lights' is followed by the dual guitar slinging workmanship of 'Permanent Youth,' which showcases Monroe's sax-playing, whirling dervish of rock ‘n’ roll abandon quite like no other track. These collection of 13 new recordings continues onward with the raucous 'Dead Hearts On Denmark Street,' before the album comes to a close with both 'Six Feet In The Ground,' and then the punk sing-along vibrant flow of 'Walk Away.'