Friday, April 18, 2014

Jizzy Pearl - Crucified

Jizzy Pearl
Independent Release

Back in the early ‘90’s, Californian outfit Love/Hate were hailed as the next big thing. Their debut release ‘Blackout In The Red Room’ (Released in 1990) was immediately hailed as classic and their follow-up release ‘Wasted In America’ (Released in 1992) only reinforced the band’s status as one of the ‘90’s hard rock scene’s rising stars. But as fate would have it, internal tensions within the band, ongoing label issues and the changing music scene would have an adverse effect on the band, with all subsequent releases failing to hit the heady heights of their first two releases. Not surprisingly, Love/Hate eventually disbanded by the time the millennium arrived.
In the meantime, vocalist Jizzy Pearl has kept himself in the spotlight with stints in L.A. Guns, Ratt, and Adler’s Appetite. And in more recent times, the new front man for Quiet Riot. And then of course dotted throughout his gigs with other bands, Pearl has also managed to release some solo efforts, and author no less than three books. Although Pearl’s career has been quite scattered, he at the very least has kept himself busy.
Which bring us to the present day, seeing Pearl return with a new release in the form of a new E.P. ‘Crucified’.
Originally billed as a new Love/Hate release, Pearl changed it to his own name after former Love/Hate guitarist Jon E. Love threatened with a lawsuit. Obviously keen to avoid legal costs involved with court proceedings (And not to mention confusion amongst fans considering Pearl is the only member of Love/Hate on the recording), Pearl decided to change the credit of the E.P. recording to his own name.
Pearl and his band (Which includes Paul Gilbert bassist Mike Szuter on guitar, ex-Burning Tree bassist Mark ‘Muddy’ Dutton and ex-Bang Tango/Beautiful Creatures/Ace Frehley drummer Matt Starr) launch this six song effort with ‘Hanging You Out To Dry’, which is by far the rawest and fastest tune on the E.P. One part punk, and the other dirty rock ‘n’ roll of the Motörhead vein, ‘Hanging You Out To Dry’ is a little rough sounding and unrefined, and maybe a little too under-produced to really stand out as a true favourite here. Pearl’s vocals are as harsh as ever, and the lyrics are as quirky as ever, but the song manages to achieve its objective of announcing Pearl’s return in a loud and brash manner.
The follow up track ‘Sunny Day’ is a complete change of direction for the band, with shades of ‘90’s grunge and psychedelia coming through the guitars on the slower paced track. Szuter’s lead work is a real stand out here, while Pearl’s performances add a bit of an eastern flavour (Via Led Zeppelin) to the overall song.
While ‘You’re Making Me Nervous’ is one of the E.P.’s catchiest efforts, the raw production and uneven mix of vocals and music inevitably lets the song down. That coupled with Pearl’s rather awkward lyrical efforts gives the song a real incomplete demo-like feel. It’s a shame, because with a little more work, this song could have easily been the E.P. highlight.
The acoustic rocker ‘I Don’t Want To Be Your Baby’ is a great track, and reminds me of his efforts in L.A. guns (1999’s underrated ‘Shrinking Violet’), while on ‘Love Is All’, Pearl further explores the eastern influences hinted at on ‘Sunny Day’ to create a hybrid mash up of Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. Rhythmic, atmospheric and well constructed, this is by far the strongest and more memorable efforts to be found on the E.P.
Finishing up this release is ‘Too Late’, which is a blues-like laid back rocker. It’s one of Pearl’s better lyrical efforts (Pearl is quoted as saying ‘The song is about someone near and dear to me who fucked up’), and musically a great fit for Pearl’s unique raspy vocals. In other words, it’s one of the E.P.’s stronger efforts.
Like most of Pearl’s output, ‘Crucified’ is a mix of the great, and the not so great. But despite its inconsistent mix of tunes, it fares a whole lot better in the long run as a Pearl release rather than a Love/Hate release.

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© Justin Donnelly

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