It's been a decade of growth, development, change and experimentation for the guys in Pennsylvania's Icarus Witch. The band that exists today simply would not have written albums like CAPTURE THE MAGIC or SONGS FOR THE LOST. Being completely honest, it just seems like a completely new band. Not only has this band gone through numerous member changes (I think they are the modern day Spinal Tap as I believe they are on drummer #5), but those new members have all instilled creative changes to where the music is different from what was first experienced. If your first taste of Icarus Witch is RISE, you would never suspect that this was once a traditional metal/power metal band only a few years ago. That said, it's doubtful you'd be disappointed either.
Ugly Kid Joe
STAIRWAY TO HELL
Ugly Kid Joe was one of my very favorite bands of the later hair band era. They got massively popular off a song that, to me anyway, wasn't very good ("Everything About You"), but they backed it up with three albums that really kicked ass (AMERICA'S LEAST WANTED, MENACE TO SOBRIETY and the hugely overlooked MOTEL CALIFORNIA). With much better than average musicianship, and attitude filled lyrics that were literally spit at the listener, Ugly Kid Joe were the original "anti-hair band" hair band of the era. It didn't last too long though, and before we knew it, they were gone. Vocalist Whit Crane bounce around in bands like Life Of Agony and Medication, before joining up with former UKJ bandmate and drummer Shannon Larkin in Another Animal. Larkin also found a career in a little band called Godsmack. Dave Fortman put down his guitar and put on his producer's cap, working with tons of bands from Superjoint Ritual to Otep, among others. In short, their youthful success led several guys to other careers in music.
LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY
There's several thoughts that I have about Lita Ford, but two really jumped out at me making me think that LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY would be a turd. First and foremost, her last album WICKED WONDERLAND is, arguably, one of the single worst albums I've ever heard from an artist that's had success in the past. Seriously, in her genre, WICKED WONDERLAND sits on the same mantle as such great albums as Dokken's SHADOWLIFE, Lynch Mob's SMOKE THIS, Scorpions' EYE II EYE and Gene Simmons' ASSHOLE...the mantle of shame, that is. Secondly, Lita's never exactly been known for recording great albums in the first place. She's OK and she's had her share of hits over the years. To my ear though, Lita was never even in the same ballpark as Doro and was only slightly better than Vixen back in the day. Needless to say, none of that bodes well for expectations for LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY.
The thing with L.A. Guns, at least in my eyes, is that you pretty much know what you are going to get just as long as vocalist Phil Lewis is fronting the band. They have definitely been a mixed bag without Lewis (AMERICAN HARDCORE - pretty bad, WASTED - pretty good, SHRINKING VIOLET pretty solid, BLACKLIST - awful). But when Lewis fronts an entity known as L.A. Guns, you are pretty much guaranteed a solid listening experience from these 80s sleaze rockers. True to form, HOLLYWOOD FOREVER is a solid effort once again from LA Guns.
I don't know what to call the development of a band like American Dog. For most bands, you would say that they have matured as a band. But I think if bassist/vocalist Michael Hannon or guitarist Steve Theado heard me say they had matured, they would knock me to the ground, give me a wedgey and piss in my face to prove that nothing had changed in the always crazy world of Canine Country! Clearly, a band like American Dog does not "mature", Just their playing does.
Reviewing POISON SMILE is pretty easy to do in all honesty. If you have liked them in the past, you will love this. If you hated them before, well...wait until tomorrow and a new review will be posted. As a fan, I'm always excited to receive a new American Dog release because they always deliver for me. Their own special brand of made in America, barroom rock n' roll is some of the best in a genre that is very crowded with great bands.