Neon Animal - ‘Bring Back Rock ‘n’ Roll From the Dead’ (Self-Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 04:00

Neon Animal artworkSometimes a song or album title will make me give a band a listen. Neon Animal joins a long list of other bands right now showing that there is plenty of life in rock music if you dig under the surface. From the Glam Skanks in California to Low Cut Connie in Pennsylvania to Neon Animal in London, it is a great time to be a rock ‘n’ roll fan. Neon Animal’s debut is an enjoyable eight-song demo that establishes an identity for the band and reveals some excellent influences.

 

‘I’m Killing Myself and Everyone Else is Helping Me” leaps to life sounding like a song that could have easily been on ‘Space Age Playboys” by Warrior Soul. It is a sleazy punk ‘n’ roll joy of a song with a hook that will stay in the brain. The band throws in an unexpected breakdown on the back half of the song and includes a quick solo. I imagine this song kicks off the live show more often than not. ‘Spin’ follows with the band going for a groove that reminded me of ‘On A Rope’ by Rocket From The Crypt, which is never a bad thing. The lead guitar work by Miguel Martins stands out on this one, as well as the excellent lyrics by Mark Thorn. There is a section before the solo where I can see future crowds pumping their fist and singing the “hey” for them.

 

The title track follows with some nice acoustic guitar touches throughout the uptempo track. In my notes, I scribbled references to Michael Monroe, Johnny Thunders and Mick Jagger on this one. This song has grown on me with every listen and was the song that brought the band to my attention. It would be nice to see this song hit the mainstream and see if it might help make more people play the Biters, new Cheap Trick, etc.

 

The album’s pinnacle for me follows with ‘This is the End’ reminding me of the Stooges. Iv K. Lizz shows he is the master of the drums here; Jonathan Gaglione shines on the bass as Martin’s guitar playing is flawless. This slow haunting six-minute electric blues number climbs into the soul and drags the hand to the “repeat” button. I anticipate the band can just pencil this into all future setlists. The final 90 seconds or so sees the band speed up the pace and close the proverbial side one with thunder.

 

 

The second half of the album begins with ‘Kiss Like Dynamite’ having a catchy guitar riff but not being as memorable due to the power of the preceding ‘This is the End.’ The song is okay, but I think I would have recorded it a little rawer so that the guitar had more power in the mix and had the band add a bit more to the chorus. I think this song would also show itself to be stronger if my format was vinyl as it would have more separation from the previous song. ‘Gimme More’ features a cool staggering riff and brings in the rocking boogie feel. It is a shorter song with subtle hooks that have become more dominant with each listen.

 

‘From Hero to Zero’ sounds very different from the rest of the album as the opening guitar work reminds me of classic ‘70s hard rock. There is a somewhat spoken word lead vocal that is very effective and different from the rest of the album. This song reveals one of the frustrations with the album is at times it feels too polished, especially in terms of some of the backing vocals. All that said, this is one of my favorites from the album. ‘Bedtime Stories’ closes the album strong bringing to mind Hanoi Rocks, and the solo by Martins is my favorite on the record. Thorn channels the spirit of Michael Monroe again here.

 

At eight songs, the band does not overstay its welcome and leaves this listener wanting more. If I had this on vinyl, I know that Side A would receive the majority of the plays for the first several months due to the sheer strength of the material, but then Side B would start to get more and more plays as time went by as the band really only has that one hiccup for me. I highly recommend checking these guys out live if they are playing near you, as well as taking some time to check out their debut. I am sure glad I did.

 

‘Bring Back Rock ’n’ Roll From The Dead’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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