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Y&T - 'Facemelter' http://ns2.rocktopiarecords.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/72/e9/05/305_Facemelter_1272642761.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     April 30, 2010    
 
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Comeback album from the San Franciscan quartet.

 

Back in the days when Kerrang! first started to marshal the unwashed hordes into a recognizable movement, the scene was very much one dominated by British rock bands. Rock from America generally meant the radio friendly machinations of acts such as Journey, Foreigner and REO Speedwagon; and whilst the likes of Sammy Hagar, Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper had steady European fan bases, the shift in the balance of power can mostly be attributed to just two bands. The first of course was the mighty Van Halen, who at the time brought something completely new to the party, and the second … Y+T of course!

Led by affable guitarist/vocalist Dave Meniketti and originally named Yesterday And Today, the San Francisco based quartet had been wowing North American audiences since their inception in ’74, but it was only when they adopted the streamlined Y+T handle and released seminal third album ‘Earthshaker’ that they became a global phenomenon. At that point their career went into overdrive, and for the next couple of years nobody could touch them, both ‘Black Tiger’ and ‘Mean Streak’ solidifying their reputation as one of the hottest acts around.

In the live environment they continued to do what they’d always done, but ironically, as they became more popular the quality of their studio releases dropped considerably. Towards the end of the 80’s it started to improve again, but the Y+T that released the ‘Contagious’ and ‘Ten’ albums was a radically different animal to the sleek, panther like creature that had emerged just a few short years earlier – both in terms of sound and personnel. The onset of grunge led to the inevitable split, but it wasn’t too long before Y+T were back on the road again, even releasing two more albums as the 90’s progressed.

Since then, their name has cropped up regularly on the live circuit (particularly in recent years), but the odd compilation or live effort aside, there’s been an absolute dearth of ‘new’ Y+T material … until now. After what seems like forever (thirteen long years in fact), Meniketti and company have been tempted back into the studio to record a fistful of brand new tracks for their twelfth studio album ‘Facemelter’ (so named in honour of a legendary quote from a fan back in the mid 70’s).

Drawing heavily on the raw energy they still seem to possess in abundance on stage, the band – now consisting of Meniketti and other original member Phil Kennemore (bass), plus long term players John Nymann (guitars) and Mike Vanderhule (drums) – have put together an album which unashamedly harks back to their early 80’s heyday. I’m not about to suggest that it’s in quite the same league as ‘Black Tiger’ or ‘Earthshaker’, but the overall sound and feel is very much in that same ballpark. Granted, Meniketti’s vocals perhaps aren’t quite as sweet as they were 30 years ago – then again, none of us are getting any younger – but the emotion and sentiment is still the same.

Throw in some great guitar licks (I’ve always thought Dave was underrated as a guitarist), some suitably tongue in cheek lyrics (check out ‘Gonna Go Blind’, an ode to masturbation) and hooks that seem to increase in power and confidence each time you revisit them, and ‘Facemelter’ has the potential to grow into a much loved chapter from the ever more illustrious Y+T back catalogue. From upbeat barroom boogie anthems, through rabble rousers and crowd pleasers to emotive ballads, tracks such as ‘If You Want Me’, ‘Hot Shot’, ‘Wild Child’ and ‘Losing My Mind’ deliver exactly what you’d want from Y+T – hell, even the striking cover artworks evokes strong memories of the band at their best! Nice comeback guys!

Dave Cockett

 

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