Released: 2013, self release
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
'Glam' has long been a cosy bedfellow of other genres, from the glam rock of T-Rex, Bowie, Sweet et al of the Seventies to the glam/hair metal of the Eighties. Also briefly popular in the Seventies was glam punk, which combined the flamboyance and catchiness of glam music with the snarl and grit of punk. Happily, glam punk is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity, something the subject of today's review are hoping to tap into.
Sister Hyde, named for the 1971 schlocky horror movie 'Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde', were formed in 2006 by British-born frontman HYDe at a New York Dolls concert. The newly formed band released their self-titled debut album in 2007, which contained underground cult hit single 'You Look Better On Myspace'. They signed to Steel Heart Records and toured continuously, before HYDe abruptly relocated to Toronto, Canada and reformed the band in its current lineup. Their second album 'Sex Change' was self-released in November 2013.
The album opens strongly with the cymbal-driven beat and snarling guitar of 'On the Rails', a debauched tale of cocaine use. HYDe's voice is reminiscent of Alice Cooper at his most theatrical, which mixes well with the band's style. Track two, 'I'm Not Your Canine' reveals a slight niggle however. The thing is, well, they can be a bit too literal for this reviewer's liking. A song about not being someone's metaphorical dog? Why not fill the song with barks, whine and howls (including, rather cringingly, HYDe himself during the instrumental break)? The song itself is well-written and performed, with some terrific guitar work and suitably menacing vocals - the whole thing is very T-Rex, which is no bad thing - it's just that's there's no...subtlety.
This issue reveals itself a few times on the album. Worst offenders are 'Wanna Have Sex With You' ("I'm lewd, I'm rude, yeah you know I'm crude...I wanna have sex with you"), 'Little Miss Mousetrap' (a precise, parping beat, cheesy horror movie vibe and lyrics about a woman being a trap. Really), and 'High Maintenance Bitch', a southern-tinged number about - you guessed it - high maintenance bitches. Understated it aint!
Nevertheless, there are some fine moments throughout the album. 'Peter Pan Syndrome', although clearly influenced by the whole 'Ziggy Stardust/Spiders From Mars' thing is a fine ballad of sorts, while 'Cock of the Town' is a real rough diamond, all Eighties punk beat and sleazy vibe.
In an album of ups and downs there is usually one lowest point, and in this case it's the title track. The opening bars of 'Sex Change' will have you blinking in astonishment before shouting at your stereo, "hey Sister Hyde, The Troggs called - they want 'A Girl Like You' back!" The band's attempt at nonsensical humour, which worked rather well on 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth', falls flat here: the song is, as mentioned, an almost direct copy of The Troggs' classic, the lyrics are unpleasantly silly and the vocal delivery calls to mind the Muppets. It's weak, to say the least.
This is, as previously stated, an album of highs and lows. Highlights such as 'On The Rails' and 'Dead City' are glam punk gems, done just right. Lowlights? The tracks that are just a little hackneyed, with no sophistication and no effort required to 'get' them. Glam punk should be more witty, more waggish than that. A touch more complexity would go down a treat here, and help Sister Hyde to successfully ride the wave of their chosen genre's revival.
Review by Melanie Brehaut