“Saints of Los Angeles” by Motley Crue

Artist: Motley Crue
Title: “Saints of Los Angeles”
Label: Eleven Seven Music
Release Date: 6/24/2008
Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

Given the fact that 2008 was often being referred to as “the year of the comeback release”, it almost made sense that the four original members of Motley Crue would deliver their first studio album together in over a decade. The question that would be on everyone’s mind was could the release possibly capture the wild insanity that drew us all to Motley Crue so many years ago? Let’s examine that shall we? The album is called “Saints Of Los Angeles” or “SoLA” from this point on for the purpose of brevity and it comes to us care of Eleven Seven Music and as of this writing, Crue bassist Nikki Sixx is actually the president of the label but I digress. The recording starts off with and dramatic intro piece entitled “L.A.M.F.” and I found this to be an attempt to capture the initial excitement that we had hitting us on “Shout at The Devil” when that album opened with “In The Beginning”. Of course the times being different and myself a little older I found this intro didn’t set it up at all before the band broke into the rousing “Wango Tango” – oh wait a minute here, the song is actually called “Face Down In The Dirt” but there can be no mistaking that familiar Ted Nugent riff when it comes down to it. I’m sure this was coincidence more than a bite of Uncle Ted, but guys you should have thought this one through a little more. Otherwise the track is on the good side despite the one or two cheesy lyrical portions that I found.

“What’s It Gonna Take” was ok as the Vince sings about the bands formation it would seem but “Down at The Whisky” I felt was a little too sterile and sing-along for a band like Crue to have delivered. I expected choruses like this one in Bon Jovi or Poison to be quite honest. The album’s title track comes up next and I really like this one since it has a lot of the old groove and driving power of tracks that became the bands live staples and revered classics. It’s a little bit “Wild Side” when it comes down to it and I am sure that it rules in concert and gets the entire crowd moving. “MF of the Year” is another tune that the band is pushing and if you didn’t know already the MF stands for Muther F**ker and the track is nice and heavy as well and one of the albums better tunes with a cool riff and solid drumming. I wasn’t all that impressed with “Welcome To The Machine” and please don’t have a coronary you Pink Floyd fans that might be reading this as the similarities to their version end with the title. “Just Another Psycho” was pretty good but I felt that tunes like “Chicks = Trouble” were a little juvenile for the band to be doing at this point in their career. The line out their lot in life with “White Trash Circus” which I liked after a handful of listens and the whole affair closes up with the very “Red Hot”-esque “Goin’ Out Swingin’”. These last two tracks found me accepting that Motley Crue were now the elder statesmen of Hard Rock sleaze and it seemed as this was the impression that they wanted to leave a listener with as it proclaims “we are still loud, we are still crazy and we will still kick your tail in if you cross us”. From beginning to end I felt that there were a number of good points but also a few that I would have loved to see tossed to the side in order to make the album something truly kick ass. While it was better than I had expected if to be it did not stand up as tall as the Whitesnake or Def Leppard comebacks that we found happening this year. They don’t include the lyrics in the release which I also felt was a mistake and perhaps this was done on purpose since some of them seemed rather silly. I know as a music buyer today that I enjoy both lyrics and a lot of photos. Instead we get a double sided foldout poster of the band and sadly those days of me hanging something like this up are long gone. Of course in looking at the photo of the four members standing together with Vince, Tommy, Mick and Nikki I cannot see anyone replacing any of the members. When Motley Crue stops being this foursome the time has come to retire it.

If you have passed on the bands last couple of releases then its safe to recommend this one to you because at the end of the day one can envision “SoLA” as being the true successor to “Dr. Feelgood”. Their reunion concert “Carnival Of Sins” has been made available on both DVD and CD and having attended one of the regional shows for that tour I can say that the video is something you will watch a few times in a row. Motley Crue will continue their eighties attack on the music fans by re-mastering and re-issuing all of the eight studio releases with expanded content and liner notes. Make sure you check those out especially if you are still dealing with the first CD issues of those albums or even worse – the cassette tapes of them. Remember those? I sure don’t (cough, cough).

Track Listing:
1. L.A.M.F.
2. Face Down In The Dirt
3. What’s It Gonna Take
4. Down At The Whisky
5. Saints of Los Angeles
6. Mutherfucker of the Year
7. The Animal In Me
8. Welcome To The Machine
9. Just Another Psycho
10. Chicks = Trouble
11. This Ain’t A Love Song
12. White Trash Circus
13. Goin’ Out Swingin’

Official Website: http://www.motley.com

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