Released on October 26, 2018 (Rat Pak Records)
Thirty years is a long time between albums but that is exactly what we’re getting with Roxanne‘s sophomore album Radio Silence, which comes 30 years after the release of the band’s debut album. Thirty years is one hell of a time to wait and the results are almost worth the wait! There are quite a few real standout tracks on Radio Silence and had there been a few of that ilk, this album would have definitely found itself in the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018. I confess that I don’t recall Roxanne from back in the late ’80s but then again, I wasn’t really into AOR back then and from what I can tell from the band’s description of its debut, it was more melodic rock than anything else. I did listen to a few tracks from the debut (“Cherry Bay” and “Sweet Maria”) for the purposes of my review of Radio Silence and I like what I heard. I also see that Roxanne seem to have continued where they left off with their debut as the attitude, groove and swagger from at least those two songs can definitely be found on Radio Silence.
After hearing the first three singles (via videos) from Radio Silence — “Someone To Kill”, “Super Bad” and “Go Fuck Yourself” — I knew that I would be buying the album and made a point of getting it before year’s end. My first few listens were enjoyable but nothing really stuck out that much aside that it was quite well produced and sounded great. I think the reason for that is that the album kind of slows down and tails off quite a bit with the last four tracks. Had Roxanne limited their sophomore effort to those first seven songs, it would have likely made the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018 but you take an album as a whole, and those last four tracks just aren’t at the same level as the first magnificent seven.
The opening track “Someone To Kill” has a real ’70s feel to it but with modern production and it sounds fantastic. “Girls Alright” is a radio friendly tune and should really be released as a single / video. I really like the middle portion of the song with the background vocals and guitar solo that reminds me of Queen. Not that Roxanne needed any star power but they certainly got a shot in the arm with Rat Pak Records label mates KXM (guitarist George Lynch, singer/bassist dUG Pinnick and drummer Ray Luzier) all appearing on the record. It just so happens that the three best tracks on Radio Silence feature one or two of the KXM band members each time. “Super Bad” oozes with attitude and has a great groove to it. Jamie Brown‘s vocals on the track are top notch. While I wouldn’t say that it’s Lynch‘s best guitar solo of all-time on “Super Bad”, the video with Lynch in it is fun to watch. “Thin Blue Line” slows things down but still packs quite a bit of attitude and is an enjoyable rocker. “Broken Chandeliers” almost feels like a country tune at the beginning but transforms into a faster paced ballad with some great melodies and harmonies.
Funny enough, as I tend to do a lot of times, I listen to albums without looking at the song titles, without listening too carefully to the lyrics, and whatever stands out will stand out. There was one song that really reminded me of The Scream and now I know why! It’s because Roxanne covered The Scream‘s “Man In The Moon.” Roxanne do a good job of tackling The Scream‘s classic song. I do note that Jamie Brown appears to have a co-writing credit on the song so perhaps we shouldn’t call it a The Scream cover after all. The highlight of Roxanne‘s sophomore effort Radio Silence is next with “Go Fuck Youself” which features dUg Pinnick trading lead vocals with Brown and a cool guitar solo from Lynch. “Go Fuck Youself” has got a great groove, tons of attitude and reminds me a bit of what Chickenfoot can come up with when they’re firing on all cylinders.
From then on, Radio Silence slows down quite a bit. First, “Without You” has a bluesy ’70s feel to it but lacks bite compared to the prior seven tracks. Let’s face it, the song had a tough act to follow with “Go Fuck Yourself” and is too much of a contrast to follow such an epic track. “Quarter To Four” is another slower bluesier number. It’s got a good groove to it. Where Roxanne lose my attention is with the ballad “I Don’t Want To Live This Way” and especially the slower plodder “First Mistake.” What an anti-climatic way to finish what could have potentially been one of the best albums of the year. “First Mistake” is Roxanne‘s one big mistake on the album. The track should have simply been omitted. Interestingly, Brown sings that “This isn’t my first mistake.” I find it was a real mistake to end the album with this filler track.
The first two thirds of Roxanne‘s Radio Silence are really good. Its a bit of a shame that the album finishes with four slower and weaker tracks which kind of kills the album’s momentum. That being said, I still think that Radio Silence has some fantastic tracks and I am content to simply stop listening to the album after the seventh song “Go Fuck Yourself.”
01. Someone To Kill
02. Girls Alright
03. Super Bad (ft George Lynch)
04. Thin Blue Line
05. Broken Chandeliers
06. Man In The Moon (ft Ray Luzier & dUg Pinnick)
07. Go Fuck Yourself (ft George Lynch & dUg Pinnick)
08. Without Us
09. Quarter To Four
10. I Don’t Want To Live This Way
11. First Mistake
Jamie Brown – vocals, guitar, piano
Joe Infante – bass, vocals
John Butler – guitar, vocals
Dave Landry – drums
George Lynch – guitar solo (3, 7)
dUg Pinnick – bass (6), vocals (7)
Ray Luzier – drums (6)
Rich Mouser – additional guitars and keyboards
Ryo Okumuto – string orchestration and quartet
Roger Sause – hammond B3 (2, 5), piano (2), clavinet (3)
Produced by Rich Mouser and Jamie Brown
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Rich Mouser
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, February 2019
Roxanne‘s “Super Bad” video feat. guitarist George Lynch:
Roxanne “Super Bad” (ft: George Lynch) from the album “Radio Silence” available at: http://www.ratpakrecords.com/roxanne or on iTunes at: http://smarturl.it/…
Roxanne‘s “Go Fuck Youself” video:
Roxanne “Go Fuck Yourself” Official video (Featuring dUg Pinnick & George Lynch) from the album “Radio Silence”! Amazon: http://smarturl.it/roxrsamazoniTune…
Roxanne‘s “Someone To Kill” video:
Roxanne :”Someone To Kill” Official video from the album “Radio Silence” available at: http://www.ratpakrecords.com/roxanne or on iTunes at: http://smarturl….
Roxanne‘s “Thin Blue Line” video:
Roxanne “Thin Blue Line” Official Video from their all new album “Radio Silence” out now! Amazon: http://smarturl.it/roxrsamazoniTunes: http://smarturl.it/r…