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Wildstreet II …Faster …Louder EP

Self-released (2011)
Rating: 7/10

There are a whole host of bands at the moment attempting to reinvent the wheel by bringing back the 80s style of hair metal. A majority of these bands are falling flat on their faces with their terrible hair, false attitude and cheap imitation, but New Yorker’s Wildstreet just might be a break from the norm’.

This five-track EP is their second release, and it’s an album that has a lot of influences, particularly Poison, Faster Pussycat, and of course Hanoi Rocks and a majority of other 80s hair metal bands. Even so, Wildstreet II …Faster …Louder works despite the feeling that you’ve heard it before.

The big track on this EP is ‘Poison Kiss’, which sounds like it was recorded back in the 80s. It’s a sleazy glam stomper with infectious chorus and a vocal sneer courtesy of the big haired frontman Eric Jayk, who has the type of catty throat that made so many 80s bands half-famous. It’s a smoking hot track that could well be an accidental hit if given airplay.

Thankfully, the grooves on offer here have a leathery edge, and the band have not yet succumbed to those clean-looking videos where the acts starring in them look part of some manufactured process. Wildstreet have that bubble-gum sleaze feel buoyed by the catchy lead guitar hooks of Keith Roberts who supplies the often bluesy, swaggering grooves.

‘Hot Lixx’ and ‘Cocked & Ready’ are equally raucous although do fall into rather predictable mode, the band all too eager to reference the archetypes for their march into sleaze domination. The only issue with the whole package is that Wildstreet can at times appear slightly amateurish, but hopefully these creases will be ironed out if they attract a major label.

I believe there is a call for this type of metal, but whereas Steel Panther found a niche with the parody, Wildstreet and the likes clearly want to be taken seriously as they worship at the altar of the 80s. Judging by this five-tracker and their previous self-titled opus from 2008, Wildstreet do have some very good songs, like the moodier ‘Can’t Stop The Rock’, but with lyrics that mention “…break the chains”, “…rock ‘n’ roll train…” and “…rock you like a hurricane”, I’m just hoping they don’t run out of ideas before the big boys come knocking.

I’m willing to give anything a few spins, but when the original scene produced far better bands, I find myself wondering how on earth acts like Wildstreet are going to fit in, when surely it’d be best for some record labels to just reissue the classics. Having said that, Wildstreet II …Faster …Louder is a reasonable record, but not one that lives up to its title.

Neil Arnold

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