On Top are a US“ power trio” who will apparently be suitable for fans of Motley Crue, Dokken, Queensryche, WASP and Dio? A sweeping statement, and to my ears rather inaccurate! This is dirty rock n roll, something that has been tried and tested by the likes of The Backyard Babies, The Helicopters, and Hate Gallery etc…certainly in Europe. It is sleazy high octane rock and roll, most of the tunes play around the same tempo, there are lyrics of old, and I mean 80’s clichés etc., like those on ‘Hot N Wet’, and it does bring a certain level of fun to the table. However, I fail to see its appeal in terms of the promoted dominating riffs that are spoken of, there’s nothing too complex.
Vocally, I have been racking my brains to compare these to a well-known singer, a sound, it does feel very familiar, and the best I can come up with is a cross between the laid back tone of Fu Manchu’s Scott Hill and Dregen from the Backyard Babies. The release came out in November last year; don’t get me wrong, it’s what I would call party music; it is medium octane, brash and raw in places and there is certainly an element of fun, but I don’t hear these big sounds that I was expecting reading some of the bands descriptive material. Songs like ‘Top Heavy’ have an element of 80’s metal bands music, a few riffs and artificial harmonics here and there sound familiar, but the vocal delivery does not suit to style, it’s a little too shout ridden. There are some of the aforementioned big name sounds in the music, the thing that makes me go down the dirty rock n roll tag is this vocal, it really does not have high power screams or any melody to take the music to the place where it is meant to go too.
You hear the ideas but the execution is a little confusing, it’s a nice listen, but I am not fussed either way if I am really honest. It does not stand out as a definitive classic sounding effort, if some of the blues element was lost in the solos, then I would see where it could fit, I suppose I will have to wait and see if there is improvement on their future releases, this is a combination of styles that is lodged firmly between a couple of musical genres.
(5.5/10 Paul Maddison)