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Album Review : Alice Cooper – Road

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Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

The master of nightmares is back with studio album number 29 and there is no resting on his laurels as this album harks back to the man at his absolute best. The band are on fire, the production is precise and the lyrics are Mr Furnier’s tongue in cheek best as always.

This man never stops, if you add up the Hollywood Vampires albums, compilations and live albums you are talking over 60 and the man is always on tour. How he fits all this in at his age I have no idea. I struggle to get out of bed FFS.

No doubt there are fans out there who will be living in the past who think 70/80s Alice is the pinnacle and although they do have a point Mr Cooper has brought out some excellent material since those days and if anything I actually get a bit wound up that when it comes to a live show we miss out on so much fantastic music due to the classics always being played but I have to go back to the 90s for the last time I saw a bad show from this man so maybe I should just shut up.

Album 29 opens with a musical auto biography with “I’m Alice” and this harks back to your 70s swagger, guitar riffs and lyrical majesty. You can hear so many past songs entwined in this track and with the rock God singing about himself is excellent and I have no doubt this track will slip into the setlist especially with the spoken piece which takes you back to a homage to Vincent Price with a little slice of Bon Scott on Dirty Deeds. What a way to open the album.

When it comes to releasing so many albums you will always revisit certain aspects and the majority of the titles on this album have a little mirror image of the past and on “Welcome to the Show” we have this and a song ripped from the 80s. The guitar work is decades old but on fire all the same. Place your bets on this one opening the next tour as it is a beast and will let the guitarists shine.

The riffage on the opening of “All Over the World” has that 70s feel again, especially with the additional horns. The song is dedicated to the many tours and shows and the career of the man himself. It is a good old Rock’n’Roll song.

A real veer off on “Dead Don’t Dance” as it visits Alice’s industrial past and this would sit on Brutal Planet easily and it has a catchy as hell vibe. Chuck Garric is on fire here and directs the death march with beauty and brutality.

It is back to Rock’n’Roll again on “Go Away” which has Alice’s sarcasm dripping from your speakers whilst at the same time its crawls into your ear and settling down and refusing to leave. This is classic Alice and something nobody can recreate.

“White Line Frankenstein” is just a beast of a song. You know when Alice puts Frankenstein in a song title it is a dead fire hit. I wonder if we will now get a segment of the live show dedicated to all the Frankensteins?

“Big Boots” is more RnR brilliance. Garric is on fire again and the staccato piano plays perfectly to the simplistic rocker which slips into a very Dr Feelgood (the band, not the album) “Rules of the Road”. I can see Alice dressed as a big bopper on this. We get the layered vocals, the horns and a very hoffner sounding guitar.

As the title of “The Big Goodbye” scrolls onto the screen it kind of hits hard. We do have to face facts that no matter how many gigs or albums the man does one day he will need to hand up the cane and that will be a very sad moment. Alice has been a constant in my life since the 8os. He has the most albums in my vinyl collection and must be up there to the man I have seen live the most. I have so many amazing memories of his shows and so much amazing music that I know he will never die but I do not want to think about not being able to see Alice live ever again so as much as I like the song it does dip me into a bit of a pesimistic mood so I will skip onto “Road Rats Forever”.

This is a perfect addition to the original. It is so fitting and in line to that classic track that you can not fail to do a DiCaprio point and shout at ever little flick to the past. A song done so well.

From the earlier go away to a slower and more heartfelt “Baby Please Don’t Go”. Alice has done some incredible ballads over the years and this is no different. With that said it does not sound like an Alice track but it is another excellent addition to the catalogue.

On “100 More Miles” it is Alice telling tales from the road again but his has a feel of Steven with Alice doing a mainly talking opening. When the track breaks out is becomes huge, the keys fade away and the rock kicks in and instantly this becomes one of my favourites. I always loved Alice left field tracks/albums and this is slotted into that chapter of titles perfectly.

Final track “Magic Bus” comes out of the traps at full pelt before it settles in to a bastard child of the Beatles and some redneck hoedown. A great way to sign off what could very well be a future Cooper classic.

Road is a collection of songs that flutters across the mans career both musically and lyrically. I suppose an album like this had to happen as the road is in Alice’s DNA. Let’s face it Alice Cooper lives and dies for the show.

Irrespective of his live show his longevity would never have survived without a backbone of amazing songs and for 50 years this man has produced again and again. There are very few Cooper albums I dislike, very many I love and many more I could not live without and Road slips onto the love pedestal and after many more listens this is going to sit in my Cooper top 10.

Tracklisting (CD/2LP):
Side A:

  1. I’m Alice
  2. Welcome To The Show
  3. All Over The World
    Side B:
  4. Dead Don’t Dance
  5. Go Away
  6. White Line Frankenstein
    Side C:
  7. Big Boots
  8. Rules Of The Road
  9. The Big Goodbye
    Side D:
  10. Road Rats Forever
  11. Baby Please Don’t Go
  12. 100 More Miles
  13. Magic Bus

PRE-ORDER THE ALBUM “ROAD” HERE

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