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A Solid Modern Blues Rock Outing - 71%

DeathRiderDoom, March 15th, 2010

Despite the b-grade album cover (I thought it was from the early/mid 90s – horrible!), and it’s rather modern date – this is a solid album, with Dee proving he’s still as committed to real rock n roll as ever, and continues to brandish an excellent voice. After the continuing personal and label problems which plagued the commercially successful and internationally famous Twisted Sister in the late 80s, Dee opted for another project, this time with a change in musical direction. It seems the late 80s AOR heyday spawned a number of blues-rock driven bands – with Tangier, Firehouse and of course Badlands taking this direction to the top in this period, another one of these bands was Desperado – a solid, professional, and skilled songwriting blues-rock outfit which Dee would continue with intermittently over the next couple decades.

This album sounds far less commercial than Twisted Sister did around the time of the breakup. Though bluesy, rocky, and often with hooks, it feels like Dee and co doing what they want to do, rather than a commercial endeavor (see: ‘Love is for Suckers’). Dee writes awesome, soulful, semi-ballads and hard rockers, coming across as genuine, and well-seasoned. The modern date of this release is not a downfall either – with not only the music having a solid early 90s aspect to it, but also modern production work giving it a thick, full sound. Drums are heavy and crisp, while bass and guitar are enveloping. It’s a good mix of tunes, from the sentimental power (semi) ballads ‘Ride Thru the Storm’ and ‘Calling for You’, rebellious cowboy rockers like ‘See You at Sunrise’ and ‘The Maverick’, and generally catchy, hook oriented blues rockers like ‘Gone Bad’, where the band proves its ability to craft memorable, singalong cutters with obvious veteranism.

A very cool album, in-fact, it’s the best blues rock I’ve heard since Tangier in the late 80s and George Lynch’s solo effort Lynch Mob in the early 90s. What comes across is vivid realization of veteran songwriting talent – cool structures, hooks and great vocal harmonies, and just a feeling of genuine honesty and truthfulness in the music. No gimmicks, no chart ambitions, just bona fide hard rock written for the sheer thrill of it. Dee’s voice is great – solid and clear, with some skillful pitch changes throughout. If you’re a big fan of Dee or Twisted Sister, do yourself a favour and check out Desperado. Fans of 80s bluesy AOR such as Firehouse would be even more advised to check out it. Surprisingly strong.

-DeathRiderDoom