Monday, May 2, 2011

BEAUTIFUL BEAST: "Adult Oriented Candy"


Rating: 7/10

Rockload Records / G.T.O. 2011

Review by Kimmo Toivonen

"Beautiful Beast's "Adult Oriented Candy" is intended to be that mixtape that used to run in your (and my) walkman circa 1989." Bold words... in 1989, melodic hard rock was at the height of its' success and there were top quality albums released virtually every week. I know, I spent most of my money on them back then. Now, when a young(ish) upstart puts his material to a direct competition with songs I have lived with for 20+ years, the first thing that comes to mind is "are you serious, dude?".

"Adult Oriented Candy" comes wrapped up in a decidedly ridiculous artwork, with a photo of the band's leader Julian Angel in glowing colours and some young lady inspecting his zipper or something. When you put the CD to the player, it gets even more ridiculous, but in a good way - the album does sound like a throwback to the late eighties. No, it's definitely not as good as my mixtapes were, but it's a decent album with some rather fine songs.

I remember hearing some early Julian Angel material, and if my memory serves me correctly, he had some ok songs but the production wasn't very good. No such worries here, as "AOC" doesn't sound half bad. Angel has produced the album himself, but it's been mixed by Rolf Munkes. Actually, Julian seems to be responsible for just about everyting on the album, despite Beautiful Beast being marketed as a band with two other members. Admirable versatility, even though I must say that the album would have benefitted of a top class vocalist. Mr. Angel can hold a tune but his vocals are probably the weakest part of his many skills.

Virtually every track on the album is a relative of an eighties song you may have heard of, sometimes a close one and sometimes just a second cousin. Bon Jovi, Poison, Ratt, Autograph and Valentine are just a few bands you'll likely to spot as influences here. My favourite songs of the album are hands down the more AOR'ish ones, like "Tokyo Nights" and "Wild Tonight", both blessed with strong choruses. Never mind that the chorus of "Tokyo Nights" sounds a little like Valentine's "Tears In The Night"... and talking about similarities, the album closer "Singer And Guitarist In A Hair Band" was surely called "She's A Tease" in its' previous incarnation as an Autograph song? Angel can also write a very decent power ballad, as "Save My Heart" and " Still I Dream Of You" prove. The more "hair metallic" tracks like "Showdown" and "Rock All Arenas (Born To Rock)" aren't quite as good, pretty average to be honest.

If "Beautiful Beast" isn't just an one-off project, I'd suggest that Angel would hire a great vocalist for the next album. Maybe then Beautiful Beast could really rival the classics of 1989.

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