Out now on Spinefarm Records
Alice Cooper should need no introduction. One of the biggest artists in the world in the 70’s who fell upon some dark times in the early 80’s before rising to commercial acclaim with the overtly radio rock of 1989’s “Trash” and 1991’s “Hey Stoopid”. When the fad for big enriched choruses and hooks was blown out of public taste with the emergence of grunge Cooper went back to a more stripped down approach. 1994’s excellent “The Last Temptation” was his last album to score any real merit to these ears with the follows ups all being home to 1 or 2 good tracks but mostly lacking that vital spark that made his classic works from the 70’s so compelling.
So when I heard the Coop was working with esteemed producer Bob Ezrin for a follow up to one of his best “Welcome To My Nightmare” my hopes were high. Fortunately this is for the most part the best thing Alice has done since “The Last Temptation” but still not perfect.
Opener “I Am Made Of You” is restraint and introspective, and nicely reuses the piano motif from “Steven” off the original Nightmare release, not too sure about the vocoder in places on Alice’s vocals but the track is a soulful winner and the dark mood welcomes you nicely and kicks the albums off on a high.
The 70’s meets modern day pop chants of “Caffeine” is classic radio ready Cooper. The piano motif is expanded on for the short “The Nightmare Returns” which runs into the swampy blues of “A Runaway Train” and then the vaudeville campness of “Last Man On Earth” works a treat with Alice’s unique voice.
“The Congregation” has hints of glam rock about it which is followed up by the Stonesy “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” which is home to a vintage Cooper bridge and chorus. “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever” is perfectly summed up by the title and rather bad and like its follow up, the radio friendly 60’s tinted punk of “Ghouls Gone Wild” see the album hit a low ebb midway through.
Ballad “Something To Remember Me By” restores the balance and is a nice addition to the Cooper ballad collection leading way to the mid tempo, dark and effected “When Hell Comes Home”, a track that takes a few spins to get into but ultimately is worth the effort.
“What Baby Wants” is likeable for all the wrong reasons, the most commercial track on the album for this is bland modern day throwaway rock pop duet with Ke$ha, but I hope Alice manages to cash in a little on this track.
Penultimate number “I Gotta Get Out Of Here” is almost classic rock with a country tinge, likeable enough but nothing mind-blowing whilst album closer “The Underture” is a collage of instrumental passes from the both Nightmare stories and is a fitting end.
“Welcome 2 My Nightmare” is not as a good as its 70’s sibling, but its good to hear Alice with Ezrin again, the musicality of the album is varied and mostly excellent, but I suspect this album will be an acquired taste to many. Those Cooper fans that like the Trash/Hey Stoopid era should probably check out some clips first before buying, and those that likes the 70’s vintage exclusively might be recommended to do the same. But, if you like Cooper across all era’s and like that Alice’s many voices then this is a worthwhile release.
Rating – 83%