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VELVET REVOLVER....   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Wednesday, 09 June 2004
not as good as the Velvet Underground... or the Velvet Underpants for that matter... 

It's never a good sign when you're listening to a record, feted as a return to form by some of rock's biggest names and you think, I could do better. It's never a good sign when the first time you listen to it, you can't remember one single song. It's never a good sign when you think "Crikey, the vocals aren't very good".

 So here we have the debut by Velvet Revolver, the crassly named reformation of Most of Guns'N'Roses (1990-1995 era) with some guy from the Stone Temple Pilots.

 I was never a fan of the Stone Temple Pilots. I always thought their singer was awful, a generic mid-American grunge clone, and their lyrics were * coughs * even worse. (A quick scan of the lyrics to "Sex Type Thing", which consist largely of "I wanna get close to you, here I come", are down there next to Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" in the crap stakes).

 In the end, I thought that with the songs on this album written by Everyone Who Was In Guns'N'Roses but Axl Rose, it might be good. And, whilst it certainly is the best thing slapped on plastic that anyone from the GNR camp has written in the past twelve years ("Chinese Democracy" doesn't count), it's still fairly crap.

 First things first. The vocals are dreadful. Generic, undermixed, lacking in personality and melody, and spotwelded to bargain basement rain/pain/again/shame type rhymes that could've been scrawled in crayon by a five year old.

 Shame, then, because it completely disproved the theory that Screwed Up Junkies are Good Artistes. This guy can't write about anything more the girls and cars. And there's nothing you can sing in the bath.

 And that's the trouble. The thing that made Guns N Roses so interesting was Axl Rose. The truculent Brian Wilson of Rock that he was, his otherworldly banshee scream, his bizarre approach to melody, and the weirdly compelling lyrics that seemed to be about Everything and Nothing at the same time. Often, especially on the bloated Illusions double set, GNR themselves were less than thrilling musically, but somehow, Axl's vision always rose the band above the bland.

 But not here. There's a couple of songs here that sound Just Like Bon Jovi. I half expect to see a video of the band wandering around a desert in big snakeskin boots and trailing fan-assisted Big Flailing Rock Hair.

 Musically, the band are on top form, pulling great big skulky rock things from the Big Bin Of Rock Riffs, rocking out, and sounding (mostly) great. The first song, and a couple of others called "Set Me Free" and "Big Machine" are, despite - or because of - Scott Weiland's junkie-vocal contribution, quite good. The rest are, well, OK, I suppose. But just when the songs start to take off, the vocals, and the dumb stupid rock lyrics, ground it again in a dreary reality of unmelodious ramblings and a few bits of token swearing. It sounds like a bad Dave Grohl impersonator fronting a GNR coverband.

 Overall, Velvet Revolver is just the latest batch of hype. 7/10 for the music, 0/10 for the lyrics, and for gawds sake, Axl, pull your finger out, you can do better than this. Show them how it's really done.

 Contraband? Contracrap more like.

Comments
Written by Guest on 2005-03-09 11:02:40
kurt s music will always live he is of the most important figures in rock n roll we will always miss you 
Written by charlyn on 2005-10-25 12:32:35
velvet revolver totally suck. you can never re-create guns n roses, they were just a legend. I think people just didnt understand axl rose. He just wanted the legend of guns n roses to live on forever. and it will. but velvet revolver, although have a few good guitar solos, will never measure up to even half as brilliant as the gnr legend.

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