BETTER DAYS COMIN'
Of the bands that have come back into an active state from the 80s, it's hard to argue that any has created stronger music than Winger. Their IV and KARMA releases have been enjoyable to say the least, and have shown that there is still plenty of magic left when this collection of musicians gets together. While not as good as KARMA, BETTER DAYS COMIN' certainly won't offend any fans of the band. While not quite as heavy as it's predecessor, BETTER DAYS COMIN' is a cool release that showcases the melody and the musicianship that always set Winger apart from most of the other bands that were out there in 1989. It's not likely to win any new fans over, but that's probably not even a consideration at this point. BETTER DAYS COMIN' will feed those that always look for new releases from bands of their past.
There's never been any denying that Winger was a band comprised of super talented musicians, and they do nothing to take away from that here. Guitarist Reb Beach may be splitting time these days between Winger and Whitesnake, but he's still as great as he ever was as a player. He brings the rock on songs like "Rat Race", but shows an elegance in his playing rarely seen on songs like "Ever Wonder". He's always been the perfect counterbalance for vocalist Kip Winger; the long underrated singer of the band. Winger has always had an ability to use his voice to fit the emotions of any song he sang on, and that hasn't changed here. Listening to songs like "Queen Babylon", you hear that he has lost nothing at all vocally. The band is rounded out by world class drummer Rod Morganstein and rhythm player Paul Taylor. As a rhythm section, Morganstein and Winger create a solid enough thump that drives rockers like "Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine" and "So Long China". In short, Winger sounds like Winger; a trait that is not bad at all.
The only real criticism of BETTER DAYS COMIN' is that it's just a bit lighter than it's predecessor. KARMA was such a striking, heavy record for the band that BETTER DAYS COMIN' feels tame by comparison. Still, it's not bad by any standard. In many ways, it reminds of the opposite effect from the heyday when the band found huge success with the somewhat mellow IN THE HEART OF THE YOUNG, only to follow it up with their heaviest (and best) release PULL. BETTER DAYS COMIN' certainly has a vibe closer to IN THE HEART OF THE YOUNG than either KARMA or PULL. Not bad, but not quite as ballsy as fans might have liked considering the direction of the last release.
PITRIFF RATING - 78/100 - A solid effort from an always solid band. Not their best, but definitely a cool listen for fans of hair metal that just love that melodic hard rock sound with a touch of metal thrown in for good measure.