ROCK SUGAR “REIMAGINATOR” REVIEWED BY: SCOTT SMITH
Having grown up loving equally the pop and hard rock that
came out of the 80's, there have been many times that I have wondered what some
of the classic 80's pop songs would sound like done as more rocked up versions.
Never once however did I envisage hearing a project as ambitious and defying as
what Rock Sugar have released with ‘Reimaginator’.
So what makes you some "Rock Sugar" exactly? Well take one pop song from the 80's,
mix in a hard rock song from the same era and every so often throw in an extra
song or two for good measure, then over a CD of 13 tracks, feature no less than
30 of these classic’ songs! Sounds
a simple concept in theory, right?? Well no...listening to ‘Reimaginator’ you
realise that it's far easier said than done! Now don't take this the wrong way....this album is pure
KILLER from start to finish. What I mean is that the prodigious talents of
those involved in Rock Sugar should not be underestimated in playing a large
part of the success in pulling off this album. Lesser bands may attempt such an album and fail
Part of the mystique and expectation when listening to this
album is the sheer unexpectedness of what lies in store with these songs, so we
won't spoil it all by revealing every single minute detail in this
review......please read on. First
track is the complete sacrilege of ‘Don’t Stop The Sandman’ where the crushing
riffs of Metallica's ‘Enter Sandman’ are blended seemlessly with the sublime
melodicism of Journey's classic ‘Don’t Stop Believin’. You said what.....yes
that's right I said Metallica and Journey. But that's essentially the whole foundation of
‘Reimaginator’, it works "because pop rocks".
‘We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody’ sees adrenalin fuelled
moments from Queen and Motley Crue flipped on their head to create the ultimate
fist pumping, high octane sports action sequence anthem. Where is "Wide
World Of Sports" when you need it?
As for ‘Crazy Girl’, well if you thought Metallica and Journey was
sacrilege, then what would you think Ozzy Osbourne wrangling with Rick
Springfield?? Not surprising to me, it's the Rick Springfield classic that
comes out the victor given the Rock Sugar treatment.
The epic, ‘Here Comes The Fool You Wanted’ along with album
closer ’Dreaming Of A Whole Lot Of Breakfast’ are the songs that exhibit the
sheer brilliance of some of the arrangements of these songs.....words don't do
these songs justice, just go listen to them! All the essential trademark elements of the original songs
have been seemlessley included into these new versions. Even lyrics have clever moments where
there are literary trade offs. But it doesn't just end there, in some cases the
band has managed to stamp their own authoritative interpretation on songs,
making the songs their own - check ‘Heaven And Heaven’.
The only time in my life I have found myself singing Madonna
is upon hearing ‘Shook Me Like A Prayer’....one of the standout tracks on the
album. ‘Strait To Rock City’....well you can check this one out for yourself as
you wouldn't believe me if I told you the pairing on this song, but how are
those Mutt Lange'esque backing vocals!!!
What do you get when you combine 3 of the most recognised rock guitar
classics from the 80's....’Prayin For A Sweet Weekend’ that's what! This track
is a monster!! First they made me
sing along to a Madonna track and now I think I have to confess to a few
friends of mine that after hearing this, i do agree that Livin’ On A Prayer may
indeed be one of the best rock anthems the world has ever heard! But it took Rock
Sugar to convince me....
For a band that has spent the last 20 years on a deserted
island (www.rocksugarband.com for the full story) these guys have lost none of
the potential they showed back in 1989 when they threatened to take the world
by storm. They sure know how to
play their instruments, sing till their lungs explode and tweak the knobs in
the studio to deliver a rock sound that will blast your speakers to
smithereens! But then again, some of us expect nothing less from Harnell, Duran
and Track who make up Rock Sugar.
For those of you who dare let Rock Sugar violate your
musical senses, beliefs and prejudices you will be rewarded with an
unexpectedly awesome album and a sure fire winner to unveil to all your rock
Don't stop believin'....because pop rocks!!
Reviewed by: Scott Smith