Review by Robbie Dennison
Image courtesy of LiViD
Things a Livid review should mention:
- LA, 1984.
- A fug of hairspray and the smell of leather.
- The Darkness
- Revolving drummers, pointy guitars and all that.
Lazy journalism loves nothing more than a band out of time - shooting lycra-clad fish in a leopard print barrel. Yet the fact that Livid have stuck doggedly to their (LA) guns for the best part of a decade suggests that they regard themselves as more than a passing fad, and the fact that they regularly pack the Sugarmill should tell you that plenty of people see something more than glorified Mötley Crüe revivalists. So it seems reasonable to afford “One”, the band’s debut album, more than just a pile of wisecracks and a “nice try guys”.
For me, the real attraction of the whole hair metal oeuvre was the balls-out-of-the-bath dirty great riffs and choruses. Admit privately to yourself that at some point you may well have drunkenly howled as “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Girls, Girls, Girls” or even - whisper it - “Living on a Prayer” thunders on at the local dubious discotheque. That’s why the only real disappointment of “One” is the fact that it lacks one or two tracks that have the brazen ambition, let alone the beer-swilling melodic appeal, that hallmarks those songs. The component parts are there – preening singer, strutting guitarist, rock solid rhythm section – but things somehow fall short in terms of unabashed TUNES.
To be fair, there are no poor tracks here and certainly nothing to dislike, which is a virtue in itself considering the band’s theatrical context and the danger of straying into the neighbouring territory mawkish “oooooohIloveyoubaby” crap. It’s clear that everything has been very carefully planned, and relatively speaking this album is streets ahead of the stuff turned out by many other bands from these parts, and indeed by a good number of bands currently being fauned over by the NME et al. Livid certainly have the building blocks in place, and the presence of a few nailed-on singles for album number two could well yet see them getting the rewards for their dedication.