Released: 2011, Frontiers Records
Black ‘N Blue were arguably one of the best ‘80s rock bands that never broke it big. They were as wild as Motley Crue, hooky as Poison, and more talented than just about every other Sunset Strip band, but for whatever reason the band just didn’t get a break. Their first two albums, ‘84’s self-titled and the following year’s WITHOUT LOVE are absolute classics of the era, while the band’s last two albums before their initial break up, ‘86’s NASTY NASTY and ‘88’s IN HEAT were the works of a band rapidly losing credibility as it searched for the ever-elusive hit single that would save them. Well, here we are over twenty years later and the band is back (four-fifths original members!) and ready to give it another shot with HELL YEAH!
As I said, Black ‘N Blue were always one of the better glam rock bands of their day, and if nothing else, this new album proves that they haven’t lost any of their talent, sense of humour, or knack for writing catchy rock songs. Jaime St. James is still the consummate front man, belting out his lines with power and conviction, regardless of how intentionally silly the lyrics are. Musically, the band dials it right back to their debut, turning in an album that is both heavy and hooky. As you might expect though, after twenty years a lot of the magic and youthful enthusiasm is gone, leaving HELL YEAH! without the spark that made the band’s early music special.
Still, if you accept that fact, you’ll find that Black ‘N Blue are still more than capable providing a satisfying listen. The grinding chorus of “Hail Hail” is as catchy as they come, while on the melodic side, “Falling Down” brings the big choruses the band was known for. Elsewhere, the low-slung sound of “Candy” is full of the women & sex lyrics that belies the scene that birthed the band.
Like I said, if you add it all up you’ve got a solid, enjoyable glam rock album that, even if it doesn’t capture the old Black ‘N Blue magic, is still worth listening to for its memorable choruses and infectious sense of fun.