Released: 2008, Warrior Records
Saints of the Underground (S.O.T.U.) is a sort of modern day supergroup of eighties hair metal veterans. Fronted by Warrant’s Janie Lane, the band also features the skin pounding of Ratt’s Bobby Blotzer, the string work of current Alice Cooper guitarist, Keri Kelli, and current Ratt bassist, Robbie Crane. As a whole the project feels like a fun distraction for the guys who comprise it, featuring a few new songs written together, a few covers, and a few tracks that have been around for awhile. Stripped of the eighties gloss that riddled most of the previous work by these band mates, what is left is a fun rock record with seemingly small aspirations.
Things kick off rather strongly with the first two tracks, “Dead Man’s Shoes” and “Tomorrow Never Comes.” Straight ahead, infectiously catchy hard rock is the modus operandi of these two songs, and they are so good, that most of the rest of the album feels like somewhat of a letdown. “All in How Your Wear It” fails miserably as the goofy lyrics about the merits of wearing tight pants, make up, and leather really feel foolish in 2008. “Good Times” is a rather modern sounding effort, featuring an opening that is strikingly similar to The Smith’s “How Soon is Now.” This track along with “Signs of Life” have a sound reminiscent of Warrant’ last album with Jani Lane on vocals, BELLY TO BELLY, having that grungier edge that a lot of eighties bands tried in an effort to stay afloat as the hair metal ship was sinking. There are two straight-up covers on the album, Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and the Stones’s “Moonlight Mile,” both of which feel like typical bar band performances, elevated somewhat by the always smooth vocal delivery of Jani Lane. The rest of the songs offered are all catchy and enjoyable, but nothing particularly special.
LOVE THE SIN, HATE THE SINNER is an enjoyable listen, and these guys together prove that they could be a viable product without the clout of their longtime monikers. In the end, though, it feels like something that was thrown together over a few weekends and a few beers amongst friends without much direction. As something to fill the time before full-on Warrant and Ratt reunion studio records, this album is a worthy purchase. However, most listeners will probably wish the band spent a bit more time writing songs like the opening two numbers, and, therefore, finishing with more of a lasting affair.