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Monday, September 28, 2009

Detective - s/t

Name: Detective
Album: s/t
Year: 1977
Style: Classic Rock / Metal
Similar Bands: Led Zepplin, Rod Stewart, Robert Palmer, Bad Co., Journey, Mother Love Bone, ZZ Top
"One-Word" Review: Skeleton-Crew-Near-Metal
Based Out Of: Los Angeles, CA
Label: Swan Song, Atlantic
Detective - Cover & Sleeve
Detective - Back & Record

Detective (1977)
  1. Recognition 4:27
  2. Got Enough Love 3:39
  3. Grim Reaper 4:10
  4. Nightingale 4:54 /
  5. Detective Man 3:25
  6. Ain't None Of Your Business 4:29
  7. Deep Down 3:06
  8. Wild Hot Summer Nights 4:17
  9. One More Heartache 5:22
Album Rating (1-10): 4.5

Members & Other Bands:
Tony Kaye - Keys (Yes, Flash, Badger, Badfinger, Circa, Johnny Taylor's Star Combo, Cinema )
Bobby Pickett - Bass (Sugarloaf)
Michael Des Barres - Vox (Silverhead, Chequered Past, Power Station, Free Love Foundation, Zodiax)
Michael Monach - Guitar (Steppenwolf, Janis Joplin, Honeycrunch, World Class Rockers, Hokus Pokus)
Jon Hyde - Drums
Jimmy "Page" (Robinson) - Producer, Engineer (Led Zeppelin)
Andy Johns - Producer, Mixed, Engineered, Recording
Doug Rider - Assistant Engineer
John Henning - Assistant Engineer
Deni King - Assistant Engineer
Andy Zane - Assistant Engineer
Pete Carlson - Assistant Engineer
Sam Emerson - Photography
Kosh - Design & Art Direction

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of Detective, even if their name sounds familiar, it is a very generic sounding name. I picked it up because it’s bold, sleek cover art. The solid black background with the white outlined logo looks simple, yet elegant, in a great rock and roll / new wave way. The picture of the band on the back looks part easy rock and part disco, which might just be the year’s style, but is a little off-putting. However, there is a sticker on the back/top that allows the LP to be hung on a rack at a store, much like an action figure or bag of hard candies. Just picturing this record hung on a shelf of K-Mart or something also added to the mystery and intrigue of the album.

Album Review: A super group of sorts, all the members, aside from the drummer have had more popular stints in other musical ventures. The front man has been in many many acting gigs, and the musicians from Yes & Steppenwolf add a great deal of experience. Altogether, they are reported to be Led Zeppelin enthusiasts, adopting their hard/classic rock style. (Bobby Pickett is not the same as the writer of the Monster Mash, even if Wikipedia will take you to Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s entry with its link).
“Recognition” skips a lot on my version, so I cannot do a proper review. But I can off the bat agree with the critique of rod Stewart’s voice, I also feel like it is a bit rhaspier version of Steve Perry. It is a slow groovy song with out much change in the vocal range. The chorus is backed up with multiple Ooooing voices repeating the title. It is a good intro to be band: a slight slimy rocker vibe and a relaxed groove.
“Got Enough Love” feels like it might head off into “Whole ‘Lotta Love” at any second. Other than what is contained in the lead vocals, the song does not have much energy or speed to it, but it is still a hard rock song. The tempo is slow, and trudging, and the over all construction is repetitive to nauseam. The song fades out slowly, adding echo effects on the Na na-na na’s.
“Grim Reaper” features nice short bursts of guitar, bass and drum nuggets of groove. The vocals rise for the sake of changing things up, and the music repeats in its little hook segments it lays out. But there is a lot of empty space in the song. Even in the instrumental section, where guitar effects are added to the mix, it still feels like the drums and bass are plodding along and forget to build into a grand song. It continues on its one-idea lines and becomes forgettable as it fades out. But still it is very much like Led Zeppelin
“Nightingale” begins as the slow ballad. The acoustic guitars are picked and the vocals begin singing their metal lullaby, reminding me of Silent Lucidity. It is a nice comforting hook, if it were not sung by the stereotypical metal voice, it might just hold that caring validity. Around 3 min, the tempo picks up and changes styles completely, and the song becomes a very fun and poppy Queen-esq power ballad.

“Detective Man” has more of the countrified hard rock, slightly bluesy, totally south of the Mason-Dixon line rock feel to it. There is even a honky-tonk piano stifled down in the back of the mix. This is making me think of ZZ Top, from the little of what know of them. “Ain't None of Your Business” begins with swirling guitars and an air of mystery. The name detective is great for the style of sleazy rock music that for some reason conjures a dark alley amateur stalker/detective. This is hard rock burgeoning on metal. It is another of the songs that just sounds like it is missing elements. The basics are just too plain and bare bones to sound like they are anything more than skeletons or blueprint demos.
“Deep Down” follows the dark back-alley ways of the preceding song, into sadness and lonely depression. This is the first song I would associate with prog, as the sad guitar speaks volumes for the mood/songscape that the music is creating. The synth element comes into set up the transition from section to section, making the song more than a hard rock instrumental, and turning it into a much more progressive style.
“Wild Hot Summer Nights” follows the instrumental with a start stop guitar, super funky bass & drum groove and “pick up the pieces” stylized boogie. But the chorus abandons all funkiness and credit, where it becomes a straightforward soft rock number, just when it had so much going for it. I also believe that the lead singer has opted to step back and allow someone else to sing, as it is not as nasally, and quite a bit more soulful. The unfortunate thing is that the bass and drum funk is mixed down, and the electric guitar slaps all the essence out of the most fun part with its metal tendencies. But that might have been by choice since they are not a soul influenced dance band.
“One More Heartache” ends the record by beginning with a standard echoing drum beat. This could launch into an INXS song or an Aerosmith song. The confident and sleazy guitar adds their stylized character to the song, and the song falls into the repetitive musical loop with vocal innovation offering the only element that changes up the song. It still feels a bit empty, especially in the musical breakdown. The song ends in a frenzied finalizing burst of the instruments, in typical climactic breakdown. And it is justified, because it is the end of the record too.

Stand Out Track: Nightingale

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