Reviewed: May 2022
Released: 2022, Rolling Records
Reviewer: Kat Knite
After 25 years of hiatus from the music scene, former Hanoi Rocks guitarist Nasty Suicide (Jan Stenfors) is making one hell of an energetic comeback. Most famous for playing rhythm guitar in the group between 1979 and 1985, he has had his fair share of experience playing music in the realm of rock and roll, blues, punk, and glam rock. After Hanoi Rocks split, Stenfors created Suicide Twins with former bandmate Andy McCoy and released an acoustic album – Silver Missiles and Nightingales. Living in the rush of 80s rock-mania, the two didn’t stop there, going on to create The Cherry Bombz and releasing two EPs and a live album. Post The Cherry Bombz, from 1990-1994, Jan created his band Cheap and Nasty, simultaneously playing in Michael Monroe‘s band Demolition 23 until their breakup, at which point Jan recorded a solo album for release in Finland only, titled Vinegar Blood. This would be the last of his big projects for some time to come, as he soon after retired from the scene to finish his high school education in Finland, subsequently gaining an education as a pharmacist and continuing his work in the field to this day.
Aside from some guest appearances with the reformed Hanoi Rocks and Michael Monroe, Nasty Suicide, aka Jan Stenfors, was living an entirely separate life from his past in rock n’ roll glam. Now, he comes back to grace our ears with Family Album, a name which speaks for itself. Joined by his family clan, the group tell a story with each track, leaving no doubt that talent runs in the blood! Rooted in the sounds of classic, hard rock, with bluesy twists and undertones, the album features a raw and at times almost unfinished feel, bustling with the driven, youthful energy that’s sure to bring you to your feet. ‘XStopia’ kicks it off like a live band in a saloon, and new single ‘Friends’ follows with a classic hit of old fashioned rock n’ roll. We start to get just a taste of the bands range as they come in with ‘Golden Ball’, a feel good tune layered with uplifting female backup vocals. One thing is for certain – these guys know how to keep things interesting, a thought solidified by ‘Something More’, a Joe Crocker-esque bluesy and sexy production overflowing with gravelly vocals and bad boy vibes. While I noted this as my favourite so far, my mind was soon changed by something very different – ‘Sweet Sue’. As the intro rolled in I wasn’t sure what to expect, the broken up radio static indicating a switch to almost anything was possible. What I heard next was a jazzy number, accentuated by light and playful yet skilled riffing. This is a sweet song for a sweet girl, that proves music doesn’t have to be over the top to strike a chord.
Trailing off the jazz influence, ‘Boiling My Eggs’ leans more heavily on the Americana blues side – even the song title itself lends to that vibe. Great tone in the lead guitar solo, tons of skill and emotion, and a sense of the story deepening. To pick up the pace but stay in that mood, ‘Chemo Brain’ offers a comically dark narrative through the expressive noodling of Stenfors. The notes go to all the right places in this one, the chemistry in the family band abundant and observed with joy. As I neared the final two tracks of the record, I found it had really grown on me. The peaceful ‘Then It’s Gone’ took me to the 70s with a mix of Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones in its makeup, before ‘Syrenen’ reeled in the curtains. A mysterious guitar melody takes on a life of its own atop a soft and indistinct acoustic plucking staccato rhythms in the background, as if an outro to some Stenfors family film. On a final whimsical chord, Family Album comes to a close.
Don’t miss your chance to experience this legendary comeback, and buy Family Album by Stenfors HERE