CRAZY LIXX – Crazy Lixx

Crazy Lixx s:tI remember the first time I heard the name Crazy Lixx. It must have been in an article about The New Wave Of Swedish Glam & Sleaze or something and I thought the name was just horrible and I would never in my life become a fan of a band with a stupid name like that. The name is also perfect if you wanna paint yourself into a corner. I mean, the name just screams glam or sleaze. That was also what the band were when they started out back in 2002, formed by lead singer Danny Rexon, guitarist Vic Zino, bass player Loke Rivano (who back then used the name Luke) and drummer Joel Cirera (who went by the name Joey in the beginning). I practically missed their 2007 debut album Loud Minority because I couldn’t deal with that band name. But one day I heard two songs, “Dr Hollywood” and “Heroes Are Forever” without knowing it was them and I thought, whoa, this really good stuff. Well, my stupid name issues crumbled hard when I knew that judging a band like that was just totally erroneous and I just had to give the band a chance. I’m not gonna say that the Chris Laney produced Loud Minority is a masterpiece or even close to that, but fact is, the album really has its moments. It has some really great songs mixed with some fillers, but nothing is actually bad and showed a great promise for the future. The glam / sleaze moniker put on them was just partly true and was more glued to their name and their looks. Musically this was more melodic arena rock, the way it sounded in 1991. Vic Zino left the band to join Hardcore Superstar and was replaced by Andy Dawson, a young guitar hero to be. Their second, also Chris Laney produced, album was called New Religion and showed a band that had progressed like crazy. The sleaze was more or less gone and the record was more in comparison with Def Leppard and such, with a huge (as in HUGE) production, a sound scape that Mutt Lange would have been proud of. And the songs… well, the songs were just bloody fantastic. But the Lixxers had personal problems. First drummer Cirera quit, followed by Rivano and by then they had already added second guitar player Edd Liam to the team, so the situation prior to their third release, Riot Avenue (2012) was anything but stable, even though both Rivano and Cirera played on that album. The album cover showed Crazy Lixx as a three-piece and the they looked more sleaze than ever, mostly Liam who looked like he was straight out of Faster Pussycat. Cirera did return to the band and they got themselves a new bass player in Jens Sjöholm. The music had also changed and this time it was not for the better.

The album was self-produced and it wasn’t only the looks that had gone more sleaze. Gone was the big arena rock of the last album, the production was more stripped and raw and you could really touch the anger that the hard times the band had gone through. But I wouldn’t say that Riot Avenue was a bad album, it sure had some really killer songs on it that reminded us of old days, but it sure as hell was no New Religion either. I remember that I gave the album 7/10 when it came out, which was good, but the thing is, the album hasn’t grown on me one bit since, quite the contrary and today I think a seven was at least one point too much. 6/10 is more in reality today. Now we write 2014 in our calendars and Crazy Lixx has a new record in the works, the news that Chris Laney is involved once more reaches us, this time as a mixing engineer and not a producer. For some reason, that gives me hope that maybe Crazy Lixx has ditched their sleaze thang and gone back to what they do best – melodic arena rock! First single and the new self titled album’s opening track “Hell Raising Women” say both yes and no to that. There is a certain sleaziness to the song, no doubt about that, but the big, fat arena rock sound is back with a vengeance. The song is brilliant, kick-ass but still slick, kind of Def Leppard meets Guns N’ Roses and the whole song is catchy as hell. Just to show us that we are in for a treat here, the second track “Sound Of The Loud Minority” has that classic Crazy Lixx sound (yes, by their fourth album, the guys has proven that they do have a sound of their own) and the chorus is just to die for. “Outlaw” completely knocks me out, a breathtaking melody, a hook out of this world and a chorus that just won’t leave your brain. Maybe the best song this band has ever written! “Girls Of The 80’s” has a lyric very close to a clichéd extra cheese – they went there with “Lock Up Your Daughter” from New Religion , a no-no title – but the song is way too good to dismiss as a cliché. Besides, that lyric do have a point! “I Missed The Mark” is a magnificent pop song in hard rock disguise and a band like Danger Danger would sacrifice their nuts to write a pop gem like this. I’d say, this has some major hit potential. “All Looks, No Hooks” could be something they wrote for New Religion but forgot to record – arena rock at its best. “Ain’t No Rest In Rock ‘n’ Roll” has some real sleaziness to it and it is made for the stage – rock and roll played the way it was done in the late 80’s / early 90’s. In “Call To Action” I hear musical references to their debut album, albeit more professional and maybe sophisticated, if I’m allowed to use that word. Speaking of their debut, the band decided to re-record their biggest hit song “Heroes Are Forever” for this album. Why they decided to do that, I have no idea, but maybe the fact that Rexon and Cirera are the only ones from today’s line-up that plays on a studio version of this song and they want Liam, Sjöholm and Andy Zata (he used to be Dawson, but he changed his name) to put their stamp on the song. I believe they have bettered the song by doing this, but at the same time, I’m really not that big on re-recordings. I want new songs on a new album! Riot Avenue is revisited by the song “Psycho City”, but Laney’s mix makes it New Religion and the mix of those two styles hits bullseye! This is some damn fine stuff, folks. The closing track “Wrecking Ball Crew” is rough stuff, a hard rock song with some fat metal riffing with the Crazy Lixx sound on top – awesome!

Everything falls into place with this album – the sound, the songs, the performance. I must admit I was bit hesitant about the Lixxers going double guitars, but I must surrender to that as well. I think it fits them like a glove and Edd Liam is a great addition to the band. Also, as a singer and a song writer, Rexon goes from clearness to clearness, his voice has never been as strong as it is today and the songs are the best he – and his co-writer Zata – has written to date. Yes, this is Crazy Lixx’ best album so far and in my book, this album is just one re-recording from getting the big 10/10 from me. Yes, I can be picky on things like that. Oh, screw it, they will get the 10 but with a minus, then. A fantastic album and I do see it as a kind of come back for the band. I’m gonna  go as far as to say that if you are a fan of melodic hard rock and if you just like the Lixx just a little and don’t purchase this album, you’re a fool. There you have it.

Jon Wilmenius (10/10)

Tracklist:

01. Hell Raising Women
02. Sound of the Loud Minority
03. Outlaw
04. Girls of the 80’s
05. I Missed the Mark
06. All Looks, No Hooks
07. Ain’t No Rest in Rock N’ Roll
08. Call to Action
09. Heroes are Forever
10. Psycho City
11. Wrecking Ball Crew

4 comments on “CRAZY LIXX – Crazy Lixx

  1. Great review and couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Great job on this album guys. I have to admit I had soured on Crazy Lixx a bit after the last album…I just didn’t like the direction it went. However, this album has me back on board and this album is what I’m looking for from Crazy Lixx…riffs, hooks galore and those Lixx/Leppard style harmonies.

    Now these guys just need to somehow get to the US for some shows because most people here just don’t know what they’re missing. Bands like Crazy Lixx and H.e.at have tossed out some awesome music this year!

    Maybe I need to move to Sweden 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, TS.
      And fyi, there are more Lixx reviews here if you’re interested – and HEAT as well.
      I can also recommend Laney’s Legion to you, if you haven’t heard their album.
      Peace.

  2. It’s a detail, but I didn’t play a note on Riot Avenue. My credit on the sleeve is due to some confusion regarding my status in the band. As I gather, the bass was done by Andy and Edd.
    Anyhow, congratulations on getting back in shape guys. The new album sounds kickass!

    • Awesome, Loke. Thanks for stopping by and setting the record straight.
      All the best, buddy.
      And let me know when your record is out. 😉

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