Y&T – Facemelter

Y&T FacemelterY&T are one of my absolute favourite bands. Ever. I first made acquaintance with the band back in 1983 when I saw the video for “Mean Streak”, the title track off their then new album. I had heard about the band, but always thought that their name was too corny so I never bothered to check them out. I remember buying both Mean Streak and Earthshaker (1981) and Black Tiger (1982) on the same day and I have been a big fan ever since. In my book, Y&T has never ever recorded a bad album – actually not even close. Their first two albums, when they were still called Yesterday & Today, the self titled debut from 1976 and Struck Down from 1978 are both good albums, but they showed a band on their way up still searching for their identity and learning how to write and arrange songs properly. Up to their demise in 1991 with their final (or so we thought) studio effort Ten, the band have always put out high quality albums and have never released anything worse  than good. Although their hiatus didn’t last longer than 1995 when they reunited their latest line up that featured Stef Burns on guitar and Jimmy DeGrasso on drums, instead of originals Joey Alves (guitar) and Leonard Haze (drums) for two pretty uneven albums, Musically Incorrect (1995) and Endangered Species (1997) and then called it quits again in 1998. After their second reunion in 2003 all we got from them were two albums full of old unreleased stuff, Unearthed Vol 1 and 2. Good albums, but as a major fan, I wanted an album of new material and a new album from Y&T wasn’t exactly something I’d put my money on even though they have been a hard touring band since the band reunited in 2003. I finally got what I wanted and I prayed that even though only two original members (lead singer and lead guitarist Dave Meniketti and bassist Phil Kennemore together with newcomers John Nymann on guitar and Mike Vanderhule on drums) remains, the band would be able to give us a great album. My expectations were high, to say the least and it’s always with mixed feelings that you listen to new music from one of your all time favourite bands. Especially when they haven’t released anything new for over ten years.

I’m happy to say that all my expectations were fulfilled. Because Y&T has made a great comeback album that feels like a classic Y&T album, both in song quality and sound. This time they haven’t given a crap about trends and just stuck to what Y&T does best and that is hard, melodic rock ’n’ roll with grooves and hooks to die for. So there’s no alternative bullshit that showed up on their second reunion records and there isn’t any AOR (like on Down For The Count from 1985) or Sunset Strip glam like their last two albums Contagious (1987) and Ten showed traces of. First single ”I’m Coming Home” hit home right away and showed us what to expect for the rest of the album. A great song, catchy but never cheesy. It has a melody that reminds me of “Forever” from Black Tiger. To name drop titles here is almost impossible, because they’re all so good, but ”How Long”, ”Hot Shot” and ”One Life” are all classic Y&T songs that would have fitted easily on one of their classic 80’s albums and “On With The Show” is a perfect album opener. My guess is that will open some live shows as well. ”Gonna Go Blind” is a tongue in cheek blues groover that rocks all the way and of course we get one of those fantastic Meniketti ballads that we’re used to – ”If You Want Me” are just fabulous. This new album is their best since In Rock We Trust from 1984, not to cast any shadows on their other albums. Dave Meniketti still has a powerful voice and is still one hot guitar player. It feels great to know that the boys are not only a killer live band, but they can still cut it in the song writing apartment. Welcome back, guys and don’t let this album be your last.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

01. Prelude, On With The Show
02. On With The Show
03. One Life
04. Shine On
05. Wild Child
06. I Want Your Money
07. I’m Coming Home
08. If You Want Me
09. Hot Shot
10. How Long
11. Gonna Go Blind
12. Don’t Bring me Down
13. Blind Patriot
14. Losing My Mind (Bonus Track)

 

 

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