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Joetown – Pills and Ammo

Label: Joetown Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan

Straight outta Connecticut, the band is Joetown, featuring Joe Town, aka Joe Delaney; the album is "Pills and Ammo". Ladies and gentlemen, sleaze metal is alive and spitting in 2008. This CD is like a snakeskin boot to the face. "Hole in my Soul" kicks things off with a talk box effect, but it gets better from there, unapologetically channeling the best of the dirty-glam metal bands of the late 80s: Circus of Power, L.A. Guns, early Whitesnake, the grittier side of old G n' R - - and there are moments when Joe Town drops the vocal gravel to do a pretty good impression of Badlands' Ray Gillen.

The guitar leads on this album are noteworthy for their ferocity. While he's not a virtuoso, he plays with an infectious aggression; you can almost hear his teeth gritting through the distortion-drenched power chords and solos. Great attack, great sound, very good studio production.

This is not typically my thing, but I found "Pills and Ammo" to be a pleasant surprise. A lot of nasty, ballsy little retro grooves in "Finger", "Crash", and especially in the house-shaking, ass-kicking finale tracks: "Tres Mujeres" and "My Anger Knows No Bounds". Some distinctive, catchy hooks occasionally pop up too, as heard in "Lonely Town Blues" (which is currently stuck in my head). Adhering to the rules of its genre, there are some hit and miss ballad-esque things in "American Alter" and especially "LA Tuning". Acoustic strumming aside, I think this stuff is generally too heavy, too gritty, and too raw for mainstream audiences.

I've rarely agreed with mainstream sensibilities; I enjoyed the hell out of this album's strong points. You will too, especially if you're into 80s sleaze rock. Don't trust me? Check out the samples at http://www.joetown.com and decide for yourself.
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