The years really go by fast these days. It feels like it was only a year or two since Little Caesar released their latest studio effort American Dream. When I heard the news that the band was on their way with another brand new album, my first thought was “already?”. American Dream came out six years ago, back in 2012. So what has happened since then, then? Well, it’s not like they have been out on a world-wide tour for years and years. Fact is, not very much has happened with the band apart from making it to play the Download Festival in Great Britain in 2013 and releasing a live album in 2015, Brutally Honest Live From Holland, an album I had no idea it existed until just now. Their new album is their sixth studio effort since their now classic self titled debut album from 1990, the debut E.P. Name Your Poison from 1989 excluded and even though none of their albums has managed to top or even equal the debut, every album has been good records with a very fresh and alive feel and I have my suspicions that Little Caesar could be a really entertaining live act.
The new album opens with “21 Again”, a straight forward Classic Rock tune with lots of balls and a rough drive complete with a contagious party mood. I’m sure this would go down like a storm on any festival out there. Very good. A cover of Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” – earlier covered by acts such as The Grateful Dead and Willie Nelson – follows and the tune is an uptempo, southern styled Rock ‘n’ Roll tune that holds a twist of Country, a great Pop melody and a danceable groove. I have never heard the original or any of the other covered versions but I think Little Caesar makes one helluva rock stomper out of it – and I think it’s bloody great! “Vegas” is classic Little Caesar. No bull, just melodic, dirty and raunchy rock and roll with a good punch, a steady beat and a memorable main melody right in your face. A good song that does its job of getting us rocked. And again, I think this would be a live killer for the band.
“Crushed Velvet” is a sleazy rocker in mid tempo with a big 70’s Rolling Stones influence and slight Soul-y vibe with a really bad-ass groove. The live feel is pretty intense and it’s very hard to sit still to it. Good shit, boys. The rhythmic “Good Times” feels like just that – good times! This one grooves in mid pace but also brings out the “let’s drink 10 beers a down some chasers as well” feel for me. Killer tune! “Time Enough For That” says it’s ballad time and what we get here is a 70’s grooved Classic Rock slow tune that brings out the smell of a crowded, smoke-filled rock club. It still holds an amazingly catchy refrain and a memorable melody line and it really should be a single. Brilliant! “Straight Shooter” is a rough dude alright and while it is punchy and hard and very straight forward, it’s also a bit forgettable. It’s the kind of song that feels good while listening but then disappears, it just won’t stick. Not bad, though.
“Another Fine Mess” is pure rock and roll complete with a honky piano, a Rolling Stones like groove with a bit of Southern touch and a shakeable swagger that makes you wanna get down n’ dirty and party up. A good time rocker, to put things mildly. The Stones goes Southern Rock comes back with “Morning”, an uptempo and groovy ballad that holds an atmospheric vibe and a main melody that is easily remembered. But what makes the song a home-run is the extremely catchy refrain. A great tune and another single contender. Closing track “That’s Alright” is an uptempo, Classic Rock tune with a 70’s swagger, a sleazy twitch and a direct and dirty punch. The Melodic Rock arrangement in the chorus gives the tune a more catchy vibe but all in all it’s a really good good-time rocker.
Little Caesar have always played rough, meaty, down n’ dirty hard rock and roll with good, distinct melodies that holds lots of catchiness and none of that has changed one bit with this record. They have also got a sound of their own without being overly original – but it’s easy to hear when a Little Caesar song is being played. Much of that has to do with Ron Young’s voice, of course, but there’s definitely something with their sound. But while this album is made of only good songs, very few of them steps up as great which makes this album another Little Caesar record that won’t threaten their debut as their finest moment. That said, I have a feeling that Little Caesar of 2018 is more of a live act because the robust and raunchy sound of the songs here will probably rock any stage in the world away, be it at a festival or in a crowed club somewhere. This might not be my favorite Little Caesar album but it’s always nice when the boys shows up with new material again.
More Little Caesar reviews:
1. 21 Again
2. Mama Tried
4. Crushed Velvet
5. Good Times
6. Time Enough For That
7. Straight Shooter
8. Another Fine Mess
10. That’s Alright