Michael Monroe- Blackout States

Michael M

Those who might think of Michael Monroe as a bit of an old glam rocker past his sing by date might want to consider a few facts first.  The former Hanoi Rocks frontman might be getting on a bit but he can still hold a tune.  Latest album Blackout States is his tenth solo effort and he sounds just as good as he did on Nights Are So Long, his first released back in 1987.  Add his lone work to the ten Hanoi Rocks albums plus one each with Jerusalem Slim and Demolition 23 and that makes twenty two albums in a career spanning thirty six years.  That’s a very strong output and it’s notable that virtually all of these many records came with a high degree of critical acclaim and sold well.

That means that unusually here we have a man who has been in the music industry his whole adult life and has never seen a drop off in real or perceived quality.  That’s quite an achievement.  There are many good things about Blackout States aside from Monroe’s voice.  The song writing may be a little retro for some tastes but it has some nice touches and variations in tempo.  Always at his best when pushing himself it’s ‘R.L.F.’ that will most likely find favour with new and younger listeners.  One song though more than anything else shows just how in touch Michael Monroe is with music today.

It’s been noticeable in the UK recently that a number of small venues have been forced to close, the buildings being snapped up by developers. One whole street in London has been lost and ‘Dead Hearts On Denmark Street’ is one man’s comment on what is a tragedy for the UK music scene.  With lyrics like “Our sense of history just got thrown in the trash with the rats” it’s pretty clear how Monroe feels about the death of Tin Pan Alley and who is responsible.  It’s astonishing in some ways that more acts haven’t commented on the loss of Denmark Street through their music.  It’s great to see that one man cares enough to do so.  Hopefully more will follow.  While Blackout States in many ways is one of those albums you could easily label as ‘for fans only’ it is still more than worthy of checking out by people less familiar with Michael Monroe’s work.  For giving a voice to those concerned at the loss of venues in the UK it deserves and virtually demands to be listened to.

Review:  Gary Trueman

Track Listing:

  1. This Ain’t No Love Song
  1. Old Kings Road
  1. Goin’ Down With The Ship
  1. Keep Your Eye On You
  1. The Bastard’s Bash
  1. Good Old Bad Days
  1. R.L.F.
  1. Blackout States
  1. Under The Northern Lights
  1. Permanent Youth
  1. Dead Hearts On Denmark Street
  1. Six Feet In The Ground
  1. Walk Away

 


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