“Dude, you gotta hear this band, they’re all chicks but they kick ass!!” That’s what a friend of mine said to me one day at school back in 1983 and the album he was talking about was Rock Goddess’ self-titled debut album. He was right which meant that I had to get buy that album right away. I still think it’s a great album. The follow-up, Hell Hath No Fury, was released only eight months later and not long after that, the band – Jody Turner (guitars and vocals), Dee O’Malley who had replaced Tracey Lamb soon after the debut album’s release, (bass) and Julie Turner (drums) – visited Sweden on two occasions, once as support to Iron Maiden and once to Def Leppard. I, of course, missed both gigs. But Sweden’s only music mag, Okej, featured the band on several occasions and I remember the 15-year old me having a big crush on drummer Julie who was around that age herself.
Everything looked bright for the girls when O’Malley announced that she was pregnant and left the band. She was replaced by Julia Longman and a keyboard-player named Becky Axten since more pop-oriented winds had begun to blow into the world of Hard Rock and Metal by then. But it would take Rock Goddess four years to release a new record and when Young And Free was finally released in 1987, it was only released in France of all places and the band disbanded soon after that. The first time I ever heard Young And Free was just a few months back and it’s an underwhelming album that holds very small resemblance to Rock Goddess’ original sound. Truth is, it’s more of an AOR album. The band disbanded in 1995 after many line-up changes and finally a name-change to Braindance. The girls tried to reunite back in 2009 but that fell through but in 2013 the original line-up started to work on a new record, which didn’t happen either and it would take them up until 2017 to release an E.P. called It’s More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll, a good record that showed that the band had gone back to their roots. And now a new full-length record have hit the stores.
The album kicks off with “Are You Ready”, a blaster that could have been written back in 1983. With a retro-80’s sound, the tune is aggressive, raw and stripped and judging by the sound of this tune, the gals mean business. That said, I do love the energy but as a song it fails to grab me all the way through. It’s ok but lacks that little extra that makes me go WOW! “Obsession” is bouncy, robust and earthy with an energetic groove. It’s a bit doomy and a somewhat monotone mix of Metal and Hard Rock but without a really memorable melody-line or a chorus that hits – it’s really on the forgettable side. “Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right” is upbeat, punchy and crunchy with some vintage, old-school 80’s Metal riffing with some gritty vocals from Jody Turner. But again, the song lacks catchiness and something that shakes me up. It sounds like I want Rock Goddess to sound but it’s just an ok track.
“Calling To Space” is a mid paced, pretty melodic Hard Rock number that brings their second album to mind style wise. It’s still an edgy track but more melody-driven with a clear refrain that brings on the catchiness. A good track and the best one so far. Also in a mid tempo, “Flying To See You” comes on with a down-to-earth groove, a tough beat and a big live-feel. It’s a beefy and distinct rocker with striking melodies and a good, chunky refrain that sticks – good one. “Why Do We Never Learn?” is an in-your-face, gritty, back to the early 80’s metallic hard rocker in a faster pace and the nod to the debut album is obvious. It’s an ok track that I guess will work better from the stage than the studio.
The mid-paced title-track comes along with verses that are more laid-back and darker while its chorus is more gritty and in-your-face but still catchy albeit with a crunch, the way their choruses sounded back in the day, i.e. no cheese or flirting with radio. It’s a great track and the album’s finest moment. Ballsy, fat, heavy and attitude-laden, “It’s My Turn” bulldozes itself forward with aggression and rawness. It holds a punchy and distinct main-melody and a striking chorus but in the end it’s just a good song with a few steps too many away from being great. Closing track “Drive Me Away” is a ballad of sorts. It’s soft-ish and mellow but also dark with a pretty good stomp – stripped and down-to earth. The refrain sticks with a big vocal-melody but it’s on the rougher side and not radio-friendly at all. Good one.
I don’t know what I expected from the band almost 36 years since the debut but since this record was recorded by the original line-up (Tracey Lamb has already left the band and was replaced by one Jenny Lane) so I had my hopes up. Also, the Medusa-cover sent a big nod back to Hell Hath No Fury. But in all honesty, I found this record underwhelming. Yes, they have gone for a retro 80’s Hard Rock meets Metal sound and it’s obvious that they looked back on the debut album hard. And I’m all for that, that’s the way Rock Goddess should sound, in my opinion. The problem with this album is its poor production that makes the record come out both budget-sounding and a bit dated and that too many songs are fillers and with only nine tracks it’s of great importance that the quality is high on more or less every song and that’s not the case here. Too bad but hopefully, this is not a one-off album and that they will return again with an album that will blow my fuses.
1. Are You Ready?
3. Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right
4. Calling To Space
5. Flying To See You
6. Why Do We Never Learn?
7. This Time
8. It’s My Turn
9. Drive Me Away