[Album review] “Super Delux” – Terrorvision

Album Title: Super Delux

Artist: Terrorvision

Year: 2011

Running Time: 35m 18s

Track listing: 1 Demolition Song; 2 Hold Tight; 3 Neighbourhood; 4 Pushover; 5 This is Suicide; 6 Babylon; 7 All the Girls Wanna Dance; 8 Friend in Need; 9 Rock Radio; 10 Shiny Things; 11 Run and Hide  

Ten years on from their last album release (“Good to Go“), high-energy UK rockers Terrorvision have reformed (sans drummer and founding member Shutty) and returned to the studio.  Best known for a slew of hit singles (“Alice, What’s the Matter“, “Oblivion”, “Perseverance”, “Tequila”) and an ability to write infectious rock and roll, their sixth album “Super Delux” shows that they’ve hardly missed a beat.

“Demolition Song” (which could easily remind you of the theme from 80s kids show “The Banana Splits“) has classic Terrorvision character: ridiculously catchy riff, hand-claps, na-na-na backing vocals and a snappy lyrical trip.  Lead singer Tony Wright recounts the changes he saw in childhood: “I remember the day when they pulled down the school, the hospital too and they built the new flats.” Seems like progress, but not when he talks about how “the theatre died when the fire tore through it” and that “the parks now a car park, no ball games allowed”.

“Hold Tight” rides a roll call of vehicle-related terminology – or are they vehicle-related metaphors: “Take it easy, calm down/Let’s live a little longer/Cos the needle’s off the dial/Doesn’t make you stronger”.

“Neighbourhood” brings the smoky menace that we probably haven’t heard since “Regular Urban Survivors”.  The neighbourhood Wright sings about is full of “busy bodies” and “nosey neighbours” and he comes to the conclusion that “with friends like that, who needs enemies”.  With a police-siren backing for the refrain of “somebody call the cops, it’s never gonna stop” and a terrific solo from guitarist Mark Yates, “Neighbourhood” can proudly take its place alongside their best material.

The pace barely lets up with “Pushover” (aided by what sounds like a few borrowed notes from their 1994 hit “Middleman”), a groovy mid-tempo number with typical Terrorvision humour (“you told me you’re a rocker but I caught you dancing to Madonna”) and another fine solo.  And even within their unique, fast-paced style of rock, the band can knock out distinct genres.  We go from energetic punk number “This is Suicide” to harmonica-led rocker “Babylon” to the fifties-inspired “All the Girls Wanna Dance”. And with no track reaching four minutes in duration, the pace is relentless.

“Friend in Need” is more sedate as Wright warns us not to “believe all that you read/Don’t take for granted/That what folk tell you/Is what folk really mean”.  But it’s not long until the band kick in and thrash along with Wright’s sentiment about how he’s a “layabout and expensive to feed/But I’m still a friend in need/And if you do need me, then lean on me”.  Excellent tune.

Any fan of rock music will appreciate their complaint about today’s “Rock Radio” (“Hey rock radio, play the songs that I know”) and admire their jaded observation about what passes for entertainment these days (“I really loved Ozzy, not so sure about Kelly/I want Sabbath on the wireless, not Sharon on the telly”).

Some people have “Shiny Things” while others are “held together with bits of string”.  I doubt that Tony or anyone else in the band is short of some shiny things but it doesn’t stop them travelling the well-trodden road of there never been enough money to last the week (“You gets your money/You pays your rent/By the time you get to Monday/Then the money’s always spent”).  Another classic groove.

The album closes with “Run and Hide” as we finally see the band take a breath with the only track that could be described as being anywhere close to a ballad.

It may only be thirty five minutes of new music but Terrorvision have managed to fill that time with terrific, catchy, personality-filled rock music.  Great to have them back.

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[Album review] “Mirrorball” – Def Leppard

Album Title: Mirrorball: Live & More

Artist: Def Leppard

Year: 2011

Running Time: 1h 59m 17s

Track listing: [Disc 1] 1 Rock Rock Til You Drop; 2 Rocket; 3 Animal; 4 C’mon C’mon; 5 Make Love Like a Man; 6 Too Late for Love; 7 Foolin’; 8 Nine Lives; 9 Love Bites; 10 Rock On  [Disc 2] 1 Two Steps Behind; 2 Bringin’ On the Heartbreak; 3 Switch 625; 4 Hysteria; 5 Armageddon It; 6 Photograph; 7 Pour Some Sugar on Me; 8 Rock of Ages; 9 Let’s Get Rocked; 10 Action; 11 Bad Actress; 12 Undefeated; 13 Kings of the World; 14 It’s All About Believin’

Hard to believe that the Sheffield rockers have managed to make it over 30 years without releasing a live album.  But here it is, a two-disc collection of their greatest hits along with three new studio tracks (and a bonus live DVD featuring four live performances and two music videos) to give those completists a reason to buy.

The recordings are taken from various shows on their 2008/9 “Songs from the Sparkle Lounge Tour”.  This means that we get three tracks from that album, two of which are rather good (“Nine Lives’ and “C’mon C’mon”) with the only throwaway live recording on the entire record being the awful “Bad Actress”.

But the band don’t ignore their early days.  Five classics are included from 1983’s diamond-selling album “Pyromania” and – possibly the stand-out performance on the entire album – “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” from 1981’s “High N’ Dry”.

Their world-domination period is almost without omission.  “Rocket” and “Animal” are out of the starting blocks early-on, both sounding as energised as they did almost a quarter of a century ago, with “Love Bites” and “Hysteria” providing some respite before the frenzied guitar licks of “Armageddon It” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.  Their nineties hits “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Makin’ Love Like a Man” – overshadowed at the time by grunge’s emergence – are concert mainstays, and both are great fun.

Considering that you’re getting 21 live tracks for $12 (exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club right now) the three new studio tracks can be considered a bonus.  And it’s probably a good thing.  While US radio chart #1 “Undefeated” is a nailed on late-era Def Lep rocker, “Kings of the World” and “It’s All About Believin'” are forgettable pop songs.

But whatever way you look at it this long-overdue live album is a must-buy for even the most casual fan.