Y&T – FACEMELTER (ARCHIVE REVIEW)

Out Now on Frontiers Records

After years of successful touring, Y&T saw fit to release a new album, a full thirteen years after their last bonafide studio album “Endangered Species”.  An eagerly anticipated release by a favourite band is always a risky proposition. Expectations tend to be high, so it’s quite easy to be disappointed. As their gigs have proven time and again, the band can still cut it live. But did inspiration strike for the new material?

After the Prelude, the album kicks off with “On With The Show”, a stomping hard rocker. “How Long” drops the pace a bit. A really cool middle eight in this song followed by a typical Meniketti solo. Next track “Shine On” is a bruiser, plain and simple. “I Want Your Money” suffers a bit from the overall lack of refinement in the album’s sound, but there’s no faulting the song in itself. You’ll have your fist punching the sky for this one.

“Wild Child” is the first (semi) ballad. Y&T do this like no other, and while this tune (obviously) doesn’t reach the level of “I Believe In You” it’s a fine track in its own right. “I’m Coming Home” hints ever so slightly at “Forever”.

The centerpiece ballad of the album comes to us in the form of “If You Want Me”. I found myself eagerly anticipating the lead breaks. After all, Meniketti is at his best when he can do melodic soloing over a melodic tune. There’s some fine guitar playing as expected, even if it is a bit more restrained than I’d hoped for.

If these were the eighties, “Hot Shot” would most likely have been the single off the album with its catchy sing-along chorus. “Blind Patriot” is Y&T at their hard rocking best, from its kickass opening riff onward. Black Tiger revisited! Y&T’s mid-nineties albums are referenced in the more subdued “Don’t Bring Me Down”. “Gonna Go Blind” throws some country & western into the equation. A nice departure from the typical Y&T sound. The subject matter is quite surprising as well. The tempo goes up again for “One Life”. Dave once again pulls out all the stops for the lead break. The album closes with the epic love song (not ballad!) “Losing My Mind”. A song that builds to a powerful climax and ends the album on a high.

Production is bone dry. The bass sounds immense to the point of being overwhelming at times. This does serve to showcase Phil Kennemore’s excellent playing. Mike Vanderhule is a solid, powerhouse drummer, John Nymann the perfect six-string sidekick for Meniketti’s chops. Speaking of Meniketti, the years seem to have had no effect on both his voice and his guitar playing.

This may well be Y&T’s best album since the Earthshaker/Black Tiger/Meanstreak trilogy, even if it lacks some of the pop sensibilities of albums like In Rock We Trust or Contagious. There’s no “Summertime Girls” on this one, for better or for worse.

The band have not made a misjudged effort to reinvent themselves, but have simply released an album that does what they do best : rock hard.

The only minor point of criticism is the production, which could have done with a bit more polishing. Still, I’m not gonna let that spoil my party. BUY THIS ALBUM!
 
Hot Spots : Everything.
Rating : 97% review by Sancho

www.meniketti.com
www.myspace.com/yandtrocks

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