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Permanent Vacation

Geffen (1987)
Rating: 9.9/10

Here it is. The big one. The second greatest band ever to exist are back with possibly THE album of 1987. Believe me, this is shit hot stuff. While poutin’ pretenders Guns N’ Roses and Faster Pussycat can only try to emulate the dirty, wasted days of Tyler and co., the real wreckin’ McCoy bound in with the Aerosmith sound to be copied by the next generation and, perhaps, beyond. A rave? Course it is. Aerosmith always had the ability to make something like this, but were always too stoned or recovering from falling off stage to do it.

Produced by Bruce Fairbairn, the man responsible for the knob duty on Bon Jovi’s last album (and I bet he wishes Prism could’ve achieved mega-platinum success), Aerosmith delve deep into their roots to rip off their own influences (60s beat music, the big band sound, The Beatles and, of course, The Rolling Stones) to bring together a very diverse but still very ‘Aerosmith’ feeling selection of songs. There’s massive amounts of widespread appeal on Permanent Vacation, but this ain’t no fuckin’ disco record.

There are your typical Aerosmith rockers, such as ‘Heart’s Done Time’ and ‘Simoriah’, there’s a massive sounding heavy metal tune called ‘Magic Touch’, a weird instrumental entitled ‘The Movie’ and even a superb cover of The Beatles’ ‘I’m Down’ (Cheap Trick should’ve covered this), but the others are certainly different. The title track is kinda Aerosmith meets Ace Frehley with good time, fun lyrics. ‘Girl Keeps Coming Apart’ is a massive combination of sixties beat with a dab of ‘Big Band’ sound, especially where Joey Kramer’s drums are concerned that is shit hot. While ‘Rag Doll’ is kinda Van Halen’s ‘Big Bad Bill’ mixed with Aerosmith’s own ‘Big Ten Inch Record’, and ‘Dude (Looks Like a Lady)’ is just, well, weird and not only in the lyrical content.

But my two favourites are the big ballad in ‘Angel’, which could well be that self same band circa Sinful era if you got rid of Tyler’s vocals and inserted Dimino’s, and ‘Hangman Jury’ which takes you into Dukes Of Hazzard country; a mean tale of justice in the backwoods down south. And I haven’t even mentioned the anti-TV evangelist ditty ‘St. John’. As I said, a shit hot album and one I’m gonna play the hell out of.

Dave Reynolds

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 25 (1987)

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