Reviewed: April 2004
Released: 2003, Wild Kingdom
The point where 70s and 80s hard rock and glam meets the modern world is somewhere smack dab in the middle of Gemini 5 country. Being a big fan of hard rock I figured I would check out this band as I had read a few good things about them. What I was expecting wasn’t what I got. Gemini Five are 4 guys by the names of Tin Star, Hot Rod, Slim Pete and Snoopy whose music is a cross between 70s bands like the Sweet and Kiss and newer acts like Babylon Whores and Backyard Babies. The band was put together by vocalist/guitarist Tin Star in 2001 when he joined forces with his old friend Slim Pete to form a band that could go all the way. They hooked up with Snoopy and finally recruited former The Jet Set(Queer For Girls) bass player Hot Rod to finish out the line-up.
BABYLON ROCKETS is 12 tracks of modern edged hard rock. The title track opens the disc with a fist pumping, foot stomping anthem to establishes the bands territory somewhere between La Guns and fellow Swedes Backyard Babies. Front man Tin Star sounds like he would have been as at home in 1984 as here in 2004. “Myself Esteem” is a plodding slower track that shines because it allows the sleazy rock n roll attitude of Tin Star and company to shine through. The addition of subtle electronic effects just doesn’t in anyway detract from the band sound and in fact it gives them a modern feel that separates shows that even though they pay homage to the past they are firmly rooted in the present. The ballad “Chemicals Between Us” is haunting as Tin Star delivers a poignant story of the end of a relationship. The most interesting and probably the best the song on BABYLON ROCKETS is a cover of the 80s Dead or Alive hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”. Seemingly an odd choice for a cover, Gemini Five take this song and make it their own. Gone is the poppy dance music which is replaced by crunchy guitar work. It works well for the band and even though it’s a cover it is an excellent representation of their sound and attitude.
Gemini Five come along at a time when hard rock and glam is gaining a bit of exposure due to the 80s nostalgia movement. Though most people might not know it, bands like this never went away. They might not have been on TV but they were still there, creating music the way they wanted to and waiting for people to re open their eyes to their genre. Gemini Five have put together a fairly strong album that just might be coming along at the right time. Their brand of hard rock/glam metal, whatever you want to call it, is an interesting mixture of the past of the genre and possibly the direction it will head in the future.
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