Michael Monroe Attacks With His One Man Gang
The Finish Frontman, Michael Monroe returns with his own punk and hard rock style in his newest release One Man Gang on Silver Lining Music. Michael Monroe and his band’s first album since 2015’s Blackout States. Will it have a bigger impact than his previous three? Only time can tell, but one thing is for sure, the rocker hasn’t aged in his style, nor his look. Hopefully, he can dip the album in that fountain of youth that he seems to bathe in and recapture his former glory, and if not at least appease his fans, and keep on rocking.
The opening title track of One Man Gang definitely demonstrates those punk rock influences that Monroe is well known for. It has those straight forward in your face vocals, blended in with a punk filled bounding backbeat and gang vocals. Overall this is just a great way to begin an album.
Most people are already aware of Michael Monroe‘s history. Being the frontman for the all too soon to be gone, Hanoi Rocks, the loss to his bandmate Razzle, and so on. So, I’m not really going to get into that here. Let’s keep diving into the newest album.
“Last Train to Tokyo” still has that same feel. However this time it’s leaning a lot more to the rock sound that Monroe has become known for. This song combined with the opener delivers a one-two kick to the ass. I cannot see how anyone could have any faults with this album so far.
With track titles like, “Junk Planet”, “Wasted Years”, and “Hollywood Paranoia” you just know where Michael‘s head is at during the creation of his latest greatness. Monroe even throws in a sincerely heartfelt ballad into the mix titled, “Midsummer Nights“. This track is extremely well written, well played and shows a side of Michael that many wouldn’t think of being associated with Monroe.
Godfather Of Glam Rock?
Considering that many artists and fans state that Hanoi Rocks, were essentially the godfathers of “Glam Rock” for the Hollywood scene, you do feel that a bit on this album. I personally can hear more of the punk sound, and hard rock, but hey each to their own. The track “Wasted Years” is a straight-up rocker. With crafty lyrics telling the story of days gone by, it’s mixed in with some fun drum fills, and some fantastic guitar solos.
“In the Tall Grass” would be my only ball of contention here. Although a good track, I just wanted a more kick-ass rocker to keep the flow going. It’s got some feel to it, a bit slower again, but still well played. You come out of that however right into a punk rock kick to the balls with “Black Ties and Red Tape“. A pounding driving beat, and punching vocal line, this is what I like to hear from Monroe. Another finger blistering solo that makes me jealous, because they make it seem so simple.
More than halfway through now, we are hit with “Hollywood Paranoia“. If you listen to this tune, and its lyrics (for those that do that) it almost sounds like another trip down memory lane. Monroe was really never into the drug scene like his former Hanoi bandmates (although he has had some issues in the past) but listening you have to wonder just whose memories he might be singing about. Maybe this one is from a bystander’s point of view, and what he is seeing.
Round House To The End
The final two tracks, to this listener, are always important to me. I’ve always been a strong believer, that an artist should be building to a climactic end, and make the listener shout out, “HOLY SHIT!” and then reach for that play button once again. It should be like a live concert, that you don’t want to end and make yourself return to the grind of everyday life. No one likes the party to end right?
Second to last is “Helsinki Shakedown“. This track is pretty good. An amazing guitar and drum track here. Another song that is telling a story (aren’t they all?) but this one, if you’re listening to it right almost has a movie playing in your head as you listen. If music videos were as big as they were back in the ’80s, I could see a conceptual video accompanying this track. Not really a fist-pounding track, but still a great rocker, and I am going to say that it could be a great live track as well!
The final track, on the new One Man Gang album, “Low Life in High Places” has an awesome bass/drum riff in the beginning before the rest come in. Again, not the ass-kicking track I was hoping for, but still good. It’s got a train-like feel. Starting off from a standing position and is gaining speed. This one just doesn’t gain that momentum that I was hoping for. Love hearing the bass line up front for a change and not have it buried in the mix.
One Man Gang is a good album. Will it have the same impact as Monroe‘s classic hits? Time will tell, I guess. I feel that you can definitely say that it is a good album, and absolutely worth the time to listen. Will it have you reaching for that repeat button? Well I guess that’s up to you the listener. I’ve listened a few times now and don’t hit that skip button when it comes up in my shuffle, but I have found that I personally don’t go reaching for it. Maybe with time.
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Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
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- Michael Monroe
- Sami Yaffa
- Rich Jones
- Steve Conte
- Karl Rockfist
- One Man Gang
- Last Train To Tokyo
- Junk Planet
- Midsummer Night
- The Pitfalls Of Being An Outsider
- Wasted Years
- In The Tall Grass
- Black Ties And Red Tapes
- Hollywood Paranoia
- Heaven Is A Free State
- Helsinki Shakedown
- Low Life In High Places