Cheered out of sleaze bulb, drenched in NY drugs, AEROSMITH crosses fingers through lines drawn in the sand. Tails I win, heads you lose, nevermind – a locomotive of rhythm bloated in psycho booze down Indian summers, it wouldn’t be long. Convoluted cowboys overloaded with violence. Lord, it’s such a crime.
Scott Cushnie’s tinkering piano provides some relief to by-the-books bloodshed I Wanna Know Why. Tamed production, Steven Tyler in Punkish romp – strange bedfellows, what about a STONESy sax (Stan Bronstein)? Trying to make a fool out of me? Joe Perry, Brad Whitford’s underweight punch disarming. No More No More rehash.
Haunting standstill walking down the road – the Critical Mass. As Tyler pledges celebration, AEROSMITH in autopilot, punctuated by Tom Hamilton’s insistence, sliding harmonica, gets slightly more enthusiastic (producer Jack Douglas shares songwriting credits) than before –sillier, punchier (almost acoustic, for Joey Kramer). Uneven sloppiness this band wouldn’t often resort to.
Heavily reminiscent of early NAZARETH, Get It Up is another dirty, Blues-soaked Hard Rock. One of the very best Tyler braggadocios this side of Last Child, you shouldn’t speculate. Kinda Same Old Song and Dance meets Combination. Uphill to Draw the Line – collective vocals alternated with drug-induced paranoia, in snippets.
Sputtering dynamics anteceding Bolivian Ragamuffin – Joe Perry’s showcase, Bright Lights Fright, rips off baby-dolls from NY. Summer blues, can’t find my shoes – Tyler would be proud of the couplet but would complement with a vocal twist, sorely needed. Unnecessary sax only enhances the shambolic lines drawn further down STONESy territory.
Slightly offset to Technicolor epics larger than life, Kings and Queens includes even mandolins. Anarchy, power plays fall prey to bludgeoning formalism. Unlike their SHANGRI-LAS’ cover Remember (Walking in the Sand), bombastic arrangements caterwaul through verses, instead of enhancing senses. Multi-parts suite whose acoustics never goes much further than acquiescing before the thumped gloom (a collective composition – everything plus producer but Kramer) smears wasted opportunity (and mannerist solos). A little bit of RAINBOW fused with KISS – textured shades never seen in AEROSMITH, before or since. Unintended consequence: 1977 Punks would hate the band just a couple years before provided signposts.
The Hand that Feeds got the sweet, a new swing. Discofied propulsion worthy of Miss You or I Was Made For Lovin’ You – uncompromising sleaze included. Not particularly inspired vocal track, mismatch of commonplaces over the Phantom of the Opera solo (really). Perry and Whitford alternate anvil riffs, bizarre manifesto.
Funkying Combination out of frenzy, into the Disco, songwriting by David Johansen (NY DOLLS) enhances changes of success – Sight for Sore Eyes! Tyler yelps and Hamilton up all night s(t)imulate debauched atmosphere – riffing finally met by cavalcading percussion, everything AERO-worthy (or maybe RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS). Random solo pays off.
AEROSMITH’s rendition of KOKOMO ARNOLD’s Milk Cow Blues electrocutes the original subtlety with Hard Rock leanings. Virtually unrecognizable, almost sex-less. You can’t see Tyler getting his milk any morning. He seemingly will be clean all day long. Perry’s riffs don’t want someone to come out – they allocate all desire with speed. I miss the fluid acoustic lines. What about holding their heads in cry, so lonesome? AEROSMITH looks DEEP PURPLE – Lazy they may be, they are not tumbling down. Mommy, they’ve got no milk. I’d love to. Please give them a call. ARNOLD’s impossibly yelps are hard to match for Tyler’s tongue-in-cheek. What about the milky one? Eating – hell, one word AEROSMITH is not following. There is nothing they can do to stand; they don’t mind drinking whisky – no ballyhoo. See ya.
File under: Loose enthusiasm
Related AEROSMITH reviews:
1975 Toys in the Attic
1997 Nine Lives
* * * * * Draw the Line
* * * 1/2 I Wanna Know Why
* * * * Critical Mass
* * * * 1/2 Get It Up
* * * 1/2 Bright Light Fright
* * * 1/2 Kings and Queens
* * * 1/2 The Hand that Feeds
* * * * Sight for Sore Eyes
* * * * Milk Cow Blues (KOKOMO ARNOLD)