Michael Monroe band photo

MICHAEL MONROE – Horns And Halos

Michael Monroe - Horns and HalosWhen Hanoi Rocks broke up for the second time back in 2009, they were making pretty good business and the band had released three albums after their reunion in 2002, so the break up came as a surprise to many of us. The albums had become better and better after each release and both times I saw them live, they seemed to enjoy themselves tremendously. But the split was a fact and guitarist and bassist Conny Bloom and Andy Christell went on to reform Electric Boys, co-founder and guitarist Andy McCoy went his way and started writing his own album (but he later turned up in a band called Grease Helmet) and lead singer Michael Monroe, born Matti Fagerholm, quickly put together his own band. Ginger from The Wildhearts and ex New York Dolls man Steve Conte handled guitar duties, his old pal from Hanoi Rocks, but also with the Dolls, Sami Yaffa took care of the bass and Karl Rockfist bangs them drums. The band got a spot at Sweden Rock Festival in 2010 without even a new album to promote, so things worked fast for Monroe and the boys. So fast that there was no time for a band name to be chosen, so they settled on Michael Monroe. Together they wrote the band’s debut album, Sensory Overdrive which was released in 2011 and became a big success and actually got the “Album Of The Year” award from Classic Rock Magazine. However, everything wasn’t happily ever after within the band. Ginger, guitar player and pop melody genius, decided to leave the band shortly after due to management issues. At least that’s the official statement. He was quickly replaced by Dregen from Swedish punk/glam/hard rock band Backyard Babies. Although, writing credits go out to almost every member of the band on certain songs, it’s not that hard to recognize Ginger’s extremely catchy pop melodies and frankly many of those melodies really made that album what it is, so without Ginger, would Monroe be able to come up with an adequate follow up?

Well, both yes and no. After a couple of spins, the album doesn’t feel as strong as its predecessor, but it’s definitely a good album. Dregen’s influence shows itself on the spot – opener “TNT Diet” is short and punky and not a far cry from what we can hear on a Backyard Babies record. The same can be said of first single “Ballad Of The Lower East Side”, very catchy and I hear a lot of Backyard Babies more melodic moments. “Eighteen Angels” is really swinging, a great track with some brilliant grooves, they get into an early 70’s Rolling Stones vibe on the killer rocker “Saturday Night Special”, on “Stained Glass Heart” it’s almost as Ginger gets revisited as the awesome pop feel and the very catchy melodies could very well come from him and I get that somewhat from the poppy rocker “Child Of The Revolution” as well, a catchy but raunchy thing that has a big hit feel over it. “Soul Surrender” is a track that pretty much goes its own way. It has a punk chorus that certainly kicks up some dust, but the verses are reggae based. Pretty cool song, but probably not the best song they have ever recorded. “Ritual” is a very good, but somewhat mellow rocker and  finishing track “Hands Are Tied” is a real killer, all groove and swing and it totally leaves you in a mood for a party.

To sum the album up, it’s not as great as his last effort, but this is, without a doubt, high quality music. Dregen’s punk sound is noticed and lies all over the record, but I miss Ginger’s brilliant pop melodies, without them the album doesn’t feel as varied as the last one, but I have a feeling that this time they deliberately went for a more punky and street sound. And I have a feeling that these songs will work very well live. If you are a fan of the music that bands such as Backyard Babies, The Wildhearts and, of course, Hanoi Rocks, plays, then this album is for you.

Jon Wilmenius (7/10)

Tracklist:

1.TNT Diet
2. Ballad Of The Lower East Side
3. Eighteen Angels
4. Saturday Night Special
5. Stained Glass Heart
6. Horns And Halos
7. Child Of The Revolution
8. Soul Surrender
9. Half The Way
10. Ritual
11. Hands Are Tied

01. TNT Diet 02. Ballad Of The Lower East Side 03. Eighteen Angels 04. Saturday Night Special 05. Stained Glass Heart 06. Horns And Halos 07. Child Of The Revolution 08. Soul Surrender 09. Half The Way 10. Ritual 11. Hands Are Tied
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/michael-monroes-horns-and-halos-certified-gold-in-finland/#9WUdFSjVWvsTIQab.99
01. TNT Diet 02. Ballad Of The Lower East Side 03. Eighteen Angels 04. Saturday Night Special 05. Stained Glass Heart 06. Horns And Halos 07. Child Of The Revolution 08. Soul Surrender 09. Half The Way 10. Ritual 11. Hands Are Tied
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/michael-monroes-horns-and-halos-certified-gold-in-finland/#9WUdFSjVWvsTIQab.99
01. TNT Diet 02. Ballad Of The Lower East Side 03. Eighteen Angels 04. Saturday Night Special 05. Stained Glass Heart 06. Horns And Halos 07. Child Of The Revolution 08. Soul Surrender 09. Half The Way 10. Ritual 11. Hands Are Tied
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/michael-monroes-horns-and-halos-certified-gold-in-finland/#9WUdFSjVWvsTIQab.99
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3 comments on “MICHAEL MONROE – Horns And Halos

  1. When the dust settles its safe to say for me that Hanois Two Steps ..is firmly entrenched in my all time top 10, closer to the 10 position but man Mikey and the boys were really into sumthin good and here comes Vinnnnny!
    after the breakup I bought Not Faking it,pretty good solo album..and it’s good to see Mikey still going turning out music…..and having Yaffa with him gives it that Hanoi band feeling…
    But man being 17 and discovering Hanoi in 1984 and before u know it’s over ….
    Gem of a band!
    Great read Jon….

  2. I never heard Hanoi here (MuchMusic never played them) but I had obviously heard OF Hanoi Rocks, via Motley Crue unfortunately.

    Then Michael released his video for Dead, Jail or Rock N’ Roll and I thought, this is it, the start of the next big thing. Only that didn’t happen!

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