Album review: SERPENTINE SKY

Serpentine Sky

Melodic Rock Records [Release date 30.10.15]

I was on a hat-trick of extremely decent Aussie band discoveries after hearing “One Thousand Years” and “Datura4” recently so when Serpentine Sky’s album landed on my desk, I was hopeful it might complete my trio. According to the band’s PR bumph, Serpentine Sky have re-united after originally forming in 1989 only for their career trajectory to be halted by a serious motorcycle accident involving drummer, Craig Whitelock, in 1991.

Thankfully, Craig is back banging the drums and the Melbourne-based rockers decided to cut an album of their best songs. Problem is, it’s not 1989 anymore. Looking a lot meaner and harder than they sound, these guys would probably have hit a different stride had they launched during MTV’s heyday.

Although it sounds a little dated (as most “melodic rock” does to me), this album isn’t a bad effort with accomplished Leppard-like backing vocals and the kind of tunes you might expect to hear on a collection of Bon Jovi bonus tracks which never made the album. And I think that’s kind of the point – nothing wrong with the execution, lots of big hair lyrics and string-twiddling, a plethora of Poison-esque sugary choruses and, if you used to like waving your lighter at FM concerts, you’re going to love this.

But there’s nothing here that hasn’t been done a million times before and there’s a limit to how good musical output can be when it follows a well-used formula. Like Kip Winger or Europe’s early material but without the truly memorable songs.

“Groovy Feeling” threatens to break the soppy mould of the album with a definite Vandenberg-era, Whitesnake-feel to it. “For Love The Way” has some edgy intent to it but then gets all soft and squidgy in the chorus.

If you’re looking for something that slaps you upside the head and demands your attention, this probably isn’t it – but it will tuck that loose strand of hair behind your ear and straighten your tie for you.

Ironically, bonus track “Emotional Riot” (presumably it didn’t make the cut for the main menu of the album) is easily the strongest track of the bunch – and almost certainly what you’d hear if you played “Welcome to the Jungle” backwards. As I boil the kettle for a cup of tea, “Emotional Riot” is on repeat…’s a belting track ! An album full of those, boys, and you’d really be on to something.

I think your girlfriend will like this album but I don’t see it causing any major disruption in the genre.  ***

Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw

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Power Plays w/c 18 February 2019

SKYFEVER Kings (indie)
THE NILE DELTAS Don’t Play With Me (indie)
MIKE HYDER Don’t Look Behind You (indie)
HIGH TREASON Silver Bullets (3MS Music)
THE EXPERIMENTAL The Energy (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 18 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOBY HITCHCOCK Reckoning (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 REVOLUTION HIGHWAY (Grooveyard Records)
14:00-16:00 DANNI NICHOLLS The Melted Morning (Danni Nicholls Music)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

DRIVING MRS SATAN Popscotch (2013)

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