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Warp Drive - 2011 Something To Believe In



ARTIST: Warp Drive
ALBUM: Something To Believe In
LABEL: AOR BLVD
SERIAL: ABR002
YEAR: 2011
SPONSOR: AOR Boulevard Records

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Mark Woerpel - lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitars * Cary Kaylan - bass, backing vocals * Steve Draeger - guitars, backing vocals * Jim Winter - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rock N Roll Party In The Streets * 02 Something To Believe In * 03 Fightin' Boyz * 04 Hearts Done Time * 05 Let The Good Times Toll * 06 Lay Me Down * 07 Only Memories * 08 Black Mamba (instr) * 09 We Are Our Only Hope * 10 Louie's Demise * 11 Fools OF Faith (bonus) * 12 Closest Thing To Heaven (bonus)

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.aorblvdrecords.co.uk


Background
The appearance of Wisconsin's Warp Drive back in the late 80's gave them a brief moment in the sun, although it was far too brief. Like so many captured by the hubaloo of what was the hair metal era, the band were caught up in a flurry of industry backlash and bad timing. Their debut LP 'Gimme Gimme' got a hell of a lot of press during 1989, originally released by Nalli Records in 1988 and re-distributed by Music For Nations in UK/Europe a year later, reviews were all positive, the album remains a melodic rock/AOR heavyweight to this day. What many people didn't realise, is that the band also wrote material for a second album (originally titled 'Speed Of Life') during the principle grunge years of 1991-1993. As expected, the flannel brigade and their supporters both inside and outside of the music industry put paid to any thoughts of releasing the second Warp Drive album at a commercial level, so onto the dusty shelf of Mark Woerpel's studio room they sat, until now.. Long time champion of the band - Kelv Hellrazer, was convinced that the unreleased Warp Drive material was a prime candidate for the fledgling label AOR Boulevard Records, and so it becomes the label's second ever release, and a pretty damn good one it is too, but I would say that, considering I thought 'Gimme Gimme' was a special LP way back when.


The Songs
Most of you would have heard the lead-off track to this album: the sensational Axe cover 'Rock N Roll Party In The Streets'. Not hard to see why this version is onboard, what with all the Atco/Nalli connections. It's a storming intro nonetheless, a great way to get the adrenalin abuzz. Blackfoot's Ricky Medlocke produced most of the material on 'Something To Believe In', and makes an appearance on the title track, an acoustic led entrance making way for some electric power in a smokin' southern style not unlike Tora Tora and Stranger. 'Fightin' Boyz' sounds huge in the drum department, the overall sound a wonderful tribute to that late 80's melodic hard rock scene that Warp Drive were part of. The slowed down tempo of 'Hearts Done Time' is straight out of the Winger school of emotion soaked balladry, even the guitar noodling is close to Reb Beach. More big booming drums feature on 'Let The Good Times Roll', it's easy to feel reminded of the 'Gimme Gimme' material when listening to this. 'Lay Me Down' is doppleganger like L.A melodic rock/metal that Dokken and Ratt indulged in for a few years, the main riff stolen from George Lynch's box of six-string licks for sure. Up till now, the songs are all appealing, and though there is a strong synth undercurrent on 'Only Memories', this one drops a notch in quality. The fast-paced instrumental 'Black Mamba' is the odd one out on this album, the Tony MacAlpine like workout didn't actually prove a great deal, only to reinforce that Woerpel and Draeger are excellent players. We're back on track with 'We Are Our Only Hope', a satisfying listen with a deep sense of melody and groove as it picks up momentum along the way. Weird effects precede 'Louie's Demise', a track big on keyboards, it sounds like a soundtrack excerpt and is another fringe idea that really isn't suited to the album to be honest, though I did personally like it. Warp Drive add two bonus cuts: 'Fools Of Faith' and 'Closest Thing To Heaven', both produced by Woerpel and Brian Reidinger as a separate session, the style of these are quite different to the earlier tracks, with voicebox vocals and tight drums played in a modern style, giving it a slightly different sheen.


In Summary
Of the twelve cuts, seven are well worth hearing, three are so-so, whie the two bonus cuts are good but not exceptional. Overall though, I come away pleased with a majority of this CD. Also, what is good is that Warp Drive have added to their sole one album discography, which now removes them from the infamous 'one-off wonders' club. As mentioned earlier, Warp Drive appeared to be victims of bad timing, but if a twenty year gap is anything to go by, then perhaps it wasn't too bad after all. Better for it to be eventually released rather than not at all. At the time of writing, Woerpel is undergoing numerous press/media rounds particularly in the UK, so who knows where this might all lead to.


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Comments
#1 | reyno-roxx on January 11 2012 08:02:39
Spot on review, George.
I don't understand the retrospective bile that's been sent this band's way on certain message boards concerning the debut release as if it was deliberately hyped up in some sort of record company funded scheme. To supporters like Kelv and myself it was a damn good record and felt it deserved a wider audience. I was fortunate to catch the band live at the Network Club in Baltimore in 1990 and they were superb.
 
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