Saturday, April 20, 2013

DE LA CRUZ - ‘Street Level’

Rating: RRR

Label: Frontiers

Review By: Alan Holloway

I think the last Australian band I reviewed was White Widdow, so it’s nice to return to the seedy underbelly of the planet (okay, I’m jealous - it looks lovely) for the debut album from De La Cruz. It will come as no surprise that a band with a name like De LA Cruz play Eighties influenced semi sleaze, especially when you see song titles like ‘Gimme Love’ and ‘S.E.X’, but it certainly came as a surprise to me just how darned good they are at it for much of the album.

“Street Level” certainly starts off very well with a title track that is just stuffed with skyscraper sized riffs. It’s a bit reminiscent of stuff like Leatherwolf, it’s so in your face. This is pretty much the peak of the album as far as aggressiveness goes, and the do calm down a bit as it goes on. Roxxi Catalano has a good, powerful vocal and is a great screamer when he needs to be, and there are plenty of seriously good solos from Casey Jones and Rory Joy. It’s not all joy and balloons, though, as “Street Level” seems to run out of puff half way through. The bombast and bluster of the opening tracks gives way to more mid range stuff, and although it’s good it lacks the sheer attitude and “Fuck You”-ness of the openers. “Dreaming” for example, is a pleasant enough track, but compared to the title track it’s rather tame. “S.E.X” kicks things back into gear with some blistering guitarwork, but the two tracks following, “Set The Night” and “Shine”, again fall back down, tempo-wise.

So I have mixed feelings about this album. When it rocks, it really rocks, but when it doesn’t it’s like a thoroughbred racehorse being taken out for a trot. The rating given here is not what I was expecting to give when I first put it on, but hopefully their next album will be more consistent.

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