Free Falling Angels
Released: 2012, Pure Rock
Maryann Cotton came across my desk a while back and I listened to it a lot recently, which is odd because it is not even really Metal. I’m not sure why I got it other than there is a Metal connection in the band, which I will explain in a minute.
The back-story is very cool. Jackie Patino is the son of Hal Patino, the fairly famous bassist from who has been in King Diamond, Force Of Evil and Pretty Maids. Jackie appeared on TV in Denmark as a singer on an ‘Idol’ type show and eventually his career started to take off. Jackie created that character of Maryann Cotton who looks a bit like Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) actually. The character is classic rock character, like Alice Cooper, and is named after a disturbed British Woman who killed over 20 people in London back in the 1850’s and 60’s. She was found guilty of poisoning many people including various lovers and husbands. She was convicted and hung in 1873 at the age of 40. Creepy!
Maryann Cotton (the band, the character) has released their debut album called FREE FALLING ANGELS on the Pure Rock label. Now here is the Metal part. His backing band is none other than the same lineup on King Diamond’s THE EYE album from 1990. More specifically some titans of Metal play on this record… Snowy Shaw (drums), Pete Blakk (guitar) Andy LaRocque (guitar), Sebastain Sly (guitar) and naturally Dad, Hal Patino on bass. You couldn’t ask for a better backing band. I guess it pays to be born into rock royalty! Here is the weird part. This is NOT a Metal record. It is a Rock ‘n’ Roll album with hints of Hard Rock and a huge 70’s glam vibe.
The 11 tracks display a pretty blatant Alice Cooper worship, especially Alice’s 70’s operatic phase. I don’t mind the similarities because Rock and Metal need more characters. I think Maryann Cotton has the personality and songs to become the next Alice Cooper. I’m serious. The songs have an underlying current of malice but also play so well with 70’s hard rock conventions like cowbells, lots of sound-effects, fake cheering added in the back-ground, and more. The first single is ‘Shock Me’ and it’s a punch Hard Rock number with orchestration, horns punctuate the song here and there. There is lots of piano as well as strings spread across the simple, but catchy songs. Anyone who even heard an Alice Cooper album from 1974-1980 will instantly recognize many of the musical components, but that is really awesome because no one is doing that these days, not even Alice himself, although, Alice’s last album WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE comes close to recapturing that 70’s sound. If you listen you can hear bits of Queen, Meatloaf and Kiss scattered in the songs. The production is great, there is a lot going on in this music, it’s very polished and produced to create the spooky atmosphere.
The lyrics to me seem very cosmopolitan and world-weary for such a young man but that is part of the charm on songs like ‘Night Train To Paris’ and ‘Die In Britain’. It’s almost like the Steven character from the Alice Cooper albums grew up, moved to Europe to lead a privileged but bohemian life of decadent self-indulgence. Cotton’s vocals are multi-facted and multi-dimensional. He sings, whispers, croons his voice is loaded with emotion and his delivery is world-class. I can see why he was discovered for TV at age 14 or something. Patino/Cotton has the look and the sound and I predict he will be huge.
I am extremely impressed with FREE FALLING ANGELS. I know I’m rating this album way too high for this site, but call it Editor’s prerogative, to bring attention to a record that I think a small slice of our readership will want to check out.