Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.


Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes

Hailing from Finland, Hanoi Rocks burst on the scene in the early '80s with their debut release, Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks. Producing themselves, the band took the energy and D.I.Y. attitude of the punk movement, and fused it with a love for glam rock to create an in-your-face sonic attack.
Their first release is heavy on melody and full of bravado. Lead singer Michael Monroe doesn't have the best voice in the world, but delivers the lyrics with a perpetual sneer that gives him character. Added to the mix is the razor sharp guitar playing of Andy McCoy, who rips off some impressive solos as on "Don't Never Leave Me." It's all great fun as the band never fails to lock into a solid groove and serve up highly melodic, high-octane rock.

The opening track title to Finnish rock ‘n’ roll band Hanoi Rocks’ debut album, is all too fluky; this is because this set of songs is the first documentation of a band who may be regarded as the greatest band that never was (at least in terms of 1980’s rock ‘n’ roll) and this, surely, is a ‘Tragedy’.
To lump this cut of early 80’s rock (to be precise, it possesses a release date of circa March, 1981) into a genre, such as glam rock or glam punk, would be unfair. For what I believe this group is aiming at, with this set of songs, is to maintain the flame of that purely simple corner of the global music psyche, rock ‘n’ roll.
Diving in, album opener ‘Tragedy’ sets an effective tone for the remainder of the ten tracks released on the original cutting of the record; the chugging bass of Sami Yaffa and the accurate (if uninspiring) drum work of Gyp Casino showcase the dependable rhythm section upon which the more affluent guitar and vocal parts are built. ‘Tragedy’ works, as Andy McCoy and fellow guitarist Nasty Suicide weave their licks about, which is the first comparison to the Rolling Stones I would like to make: McCoy and Suicide appear to be disciples of the partnership approach to rock ‘n’ roll guitar, as laid down by Keith Richards and Brian Jones (and later Ronnie Wood). Coupled with high pitched, Keith Richards-esque backing vocals (sung by McCoy) to enhance a sense of melody, ‘Tragedy’ exists as probably the strongest tune from the album.
Another memorable moment is the ballad, ‘Don’t Never Leave Me’; though possessing a definite ballad styled vibe, the quirky temperament of the song allows for an ease of enjoyment, while still efficiently emanating the appropriate emotions; an excellent example of such eccentricity is the near-spoken-word interlude by McCoy.
For a balanced perspective of the album, I must admit, the album has to have a low point; but when one must go in desperate search of this aforementioned low point, it’s safe to say, the album is brilliantly done. For me, the least memorable track is the underwhelming album closer, ‘Pretender’ – while certainly not a bad track, and though it shows off a high level of Stones-ish swagger, the hook emphasized sensibilities which are in abundance throughout the rest of the album are in a lesser force here. Indeed, some may also criticize the general similarity in sound among the tracks; most of the tunes found here follow the same general formula: a catchy, sleazy riff (with the filthiest of rock ‘n’ roll guitar tones – a sure compliment), moments of Monroe’s saxophone and harmonica, accompanied by toe-tapping, melodic verses and choruses. I’ll admit, the variety isn’t great (despite a cover of Herman’s Hermits’ ‘Walking With My Angel' thrown in, and cleverly done), however, if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Michael Monroe’s vocal expertise (and impressive showcase of multi-instrumentalism), supported by Andy McCoy’s capacity for song-writing, leave these two as the distinct stars of the band, and the tracks presented here give very, very little reason as to why Hanoi Rocks couldn’t have been the biggest rock ‘n’ roll band of the 1980’s; their unfulfilled potential, caused by ‘Tragedy’, surely is just that, a tragedy.

The debut record by these Finnish rock 'n' rollers, presents very little evidence as to why this band couldn't have been the most successful rock 'n' roll band of the 1980's.

Ripped from the long deleted 1989 Lick Records CD  to MP3 @ 320kbps

Hanoi Rocks: Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks

1.     Tragedy
2.     Village Girl
3.     Stop Crying
4.     Don’t Never Leave Me
5.     Lost In The City
6.     First Timer
7.     Cheyenne
8.     11th Street Kids
9.     Walking With My Angel
10. Pretender

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this, still have my mis-pressed vinyl of this from all those years ago. As you say the real Tragedy occurred later as they were starting to make in-roads into the music world, Having ditched Gyp Casino for the far better Razzle (born in Coventry, same as me) things were looking bright, Two Steps From The Move was a far better, coherent album, when Razzle was cruelly taken from us by the ****er Vince Neil. I know who I wish had rather perished that night/morning. Hanoi limped on but the spark had gone. Check out the Fallen Angels as well, a mix of Hanoi & The Vibrators