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Michael Monroe - Horns And Halos (Album Review)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 Written by Gemma-Louise Johnson

On ‘Sensory Overdrive’, his 2011 album, Michael Monroe sang: “I’m keeping thin and my looks aren’t fading.” Two years later, it would appear that his musical prowess is something else that’s stood up well to the passage of time.

On his ninth studio effort, ‘Horns And Halos’, Monroe has whisked up another Superpowered Superfly, serving a delicious platter of familiar thrills complemented by his confident swagger.

This self-produced effort, mixed by Petri Majuri, sees a slight line-up change as former Wildhearts frontman Ginger has passed guitar duties to Dregen of the Backyard Babies, and the only gripe is its short stay.

With 11 songs flashing by in just over half an hour, ‘Horns and Halos’ wastes no time mucking about and goes straight in for the kill with opening salvo TNT Diet, a fierce, energetic stomper of a tune.

With gang vocals aplenty, lead-off single Ballad Of The Lower East Side is a fond look back to the singer’s time living in New York among “Rats and roaches... Junkies, pimps and whores”. The result is a crossover of Hanoi Rocks’ classics Tooting Bec Wreck and Back To Mystery City.

The guitars of Steve Conte and Dregen scream away on Saturday Night Special, their stellar work wringing every last ounce of emotion from the track. Meanwhile, bluesy jam Eighteen Angels paves the way for an Eric Clapton v Gary Moore-style attack, and finds room for Monroe to chime in with a smoking hot harmonica solo.

The title track’s catchy chorus should inspire the lustiest of sing-a-longs, while Child Of The Revolution and Soul Surrender divert from Monroe’s familiar path to tackle influences from T-Rex and ska, all wrapped up in some wailing sax from the frontman.

It’s clear from the amount of crowd pleasers here that ‘Horns and Halos’ is quite a piece of work. Monroe might be in his fourth decade as an all-singing, all-dancing frontman but here he proves he’s still got it.


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