CD Review: Sucker Punch! / AdrianGale
After the release of Crunch back in 2004 I was hooked on AdrianGale heavily. That album was so good it made me an instant member of Kivel Kamp and I have not looked back since. When I think of tracks like “Tougher Than It Looks” and “When In Rome” I realized how much potential this band had and knew that if given another opportunity as a unit that more classic melodic rock was just a matter of time. (Yes the band did briefly exist as “Crunch” but that came and went to so fast back in 2007 I nearly forgot.) Well that time took nine long years but Sucker Punch! was not only worth the wait but far exceeded what I thought the band was capable of creating. Considering I already had Vic and the boys high on my rock pedestal that is saying something! This album is full of powerhouse production, quality songwriting, the return of Eddie Campbell in place of Scott Millar who performed on “Crunch” and of course Jamie Rowe who is still at the top of his game offering his passion and stellar vocal range throughout the record.
The title track “Sucker Punch!” has the sounds of a boxing match at the start but just then a great guitar hook from Eddie. AdrianGale has officially returned from the dead! Clever lyrics and the smooth sounds from Rowe combined with the usual big “Gale” harmonies made me hit the canvas in delirium. Just when I thought AdrianGale was down and out..they pulled me back in and eventually up from my canvas fall to finish listening to the record.
“The Black and Blue” is as tight and catchy a song I have heard in a long time. This is as good as AdrianGale has ever sounded. Great hook and chorus this song is meant to be played at LOUD volume. My favorite on the album..maybe my favorite on any AG album.
“When I Said You’d Be The One” is a friendly happy AG almost sounds like a pop song. Knee slapping harmonies. Nice solo Vic!
“All About The Money” really gives AG fans that harder more up tempo track they were probably expecting. Standout drumming from Vic on this one and also Matt Mahoney offers some groove on bass.
“Believe” offers a question to AG fans. Although lyrically the song asks a question about love but I dare say: Do you believe AG is here to stay? I hope so. Moody sort of tune..slower at times but then the 2nd solo sort of picks up the pace and carries the song. Could be performed acoustic I think and still work..just a thought.
“Give Me A Sign” is the best Jamie vocal on the album. I can just feel every note full of the Rowe passion, only slightly behind “The B&B” as the album’s best song. I dig the drum fill right before the bridge, Vic! Catchy chorus which is a staple of AG on almost every song on this record.
“What Will You Do” is another song asking a question. Answer: more harmonies, slick guitar work and up tempo rock. Oh wait, your already giving the listener that and more..sorry. Another gem.
“Temporis Intermisso” allows AG to showcase their musical talents. Just sit back, close your eyes and enjoy the journey on this one.
“The World We Knew” has some cool bass lines from Matt to start off. This song has so much smooth slick moments in it the CD jewel case fell out of my hands while reading the liner notes! Classic AG all the way around. Rowe really digs down deep on during the final few moments on this one.
“Could Have Been Me” is that relationship inner gut tune that any guy who sees an ex feels when looking at his replacement. I like the guitar changes from Vic throughout.
“You” gives the listener the only ballad on the record. Not sure I would have ended the record this way but in the digital age song order really doesn’t remain a major factor anyway. Vic on piano is different but cool. Prom song..wedding song..nice to hear the guitar solo to give it some “CRUNCH” (c’mon I had to use the word somewhere right?)
AdrianGale returns from extinction to jump to the top of my CD rotation. Yes, I still value CD’s and having the physical product and Kivel Records always has top notch artwork, models and in this case, humor in their album covers.
Big shout out to Vic Rivera for really hanging in there and giving the melodic rock community something to dig into and enjoy while waiting for you to play some place in New England! Hey rock fans AG is asking you on the album”What Will You Do”? I say to you fans go buy Sucker Punch! and make someone’s holiday a special and rewarding one. That special person just might be you. What’s wrong with that???