STREET SOUNDS: Stick to the rock
Aerosmith is back again. The Boston drama queens/rockers have put aside gripes and differing career paths to put out a long player that starts rocking quickly.
The five-piece hasn’t put any new, original material out in over a decade, so it’s time to hear which direction they take.
Music From Another Dimension is a fitting title for a trip through Aerosmith’s past – hard rocking and lame ballads to go along with the train wreck fascination with bad behaviour and comebacks.
Fittingly, they’ve re-enlisted Jack Douglas as main producer. Douglas was behind the board for the group’s past classics and could act as a buffer against Aerosmith’s agents of lameness: movie soundtracks, outside songwriters, and overwrought production.
For the most part, the album boasts some potent moments of authentic rocking. The first two tracks get off good and dirty with twin guitar bite and Steven Tyler’s hot pipes in full swagger.
Oh Yeah is a Toys in the Attic-style bad boy boogie tune – it has the cutting drive of the band in full throttle.
The visit to memory lane to get the mojo pays off. Legendary Child is another redemptive rocker, touching on the group’s Rocks-era vibe. The song sounds like the band laid it down during a party while listening to Led Zeppelin’s Wanton Song.
Out Go the Lights has more Boston boogie rock that Aerosmith rolls out so effortlessly – loose and groovy.
An album of 10 tracks like this is all they need and all we ask. But here come the big ballads rolling in like some garish searchlights to wreck the party.
What Could Have Been Love and Can’t Stop Loving You, with Carrie Underwood, are serious soundtrack themes: grandiose but gutless. The same is true of We All Fall Down — the sound of Aerosmith gone big Nashville country.
It’s a good thing that there are songs like Street Jesus to remind one of Aerosmith’s snaky way with a rhythm.
Music From Another Dimension is about great crankers and some Hollywood ballads – dedicated garage boogie and big budget soft rock. But it’s an easy pick between a rock and a hard place.
–– Dean Gordon-Smith is a guitarist with band Redfish and a freelance writer who pens CD reviews for The Morning Star.