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Articles Home » 2015 Articles » Beauvoir/Free - 2015 American Trash
Beauvoir/Free - 2015 American Trash

ARTIST: Beauvoir/Free
ALBUM: American Trash
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2015


LINEUP: Jean Beauvoir - lead vocals, background vocals, bass, rhythm guitars, drums, keyboards, orchestration * Micki Free - lead guitars, rhythm and acoustic guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Angel's Cry * 02 Morning After * 03 American Trash * 04 Whiplash * 05 Just Breathe * 06 Shotgun To The Heart * 07 Never Give Up * 08 Cold Dark December * 09 It's Never Too Late * 10 She's A K-O * 11 There's No Starting Over



It may come as a surprise that we haven't covered any of the Crown Of Thorns or Jean's solo albums, only his involvement under the Voodoo X banner gets a mention. There is no denying that Jean Beauvoir has still got the persona of being ultra-cool. I do remember sitting in the reception of the Woughton Centre in Milton Keynes, when in walked Jean with various members of his entourage through the doors, never has anyone walked into what doubles as a leisure centre in such style. That was from the debut UK tour by Crown of Thorns, but Jean Beauvoir has now returned with his significant other from the early days of Crown Of Thorns, Mr Micki Free. Throughout this album you may be forced to contemplate 'does it equal the Crown of Thorns destiny those early days fed'. Look, they were really never going to be repeated here, although in the odd moment they do get close.

The Songs
While this is being marketed as a duo, rather than a reunion, it will not stop the talk of comparison, and sometimes tracks like the big ballad 'Just Breathe' could easily had been scraped from the studio walls from those 90's sessions although at times with the excellent 'Morning After' shows that both of the guys have incorporated some of the finer points from their more recent musical experiences, because in those cases it's far from COT part 2. Actually if we investigate 'Morning After' a touch deeper, the use of orchestration results this being one of the stars of the album. Beautifully understated, it just glides. Delving deeper in his pockets and amongst all the nickels, dimes and guitar picks the confines of the past are swept away as shown with the title track 'American Trash' which has more in common with Lenny Kravitz while 'Whiplash' is AC/DC. Revisiting 'Just Breathe', the guys just display the extra shine that many bands just don't reach, others lack the technique to be able to push the bar higher, for instance one British group has managed to rhyme 'doom' with 'gloom' and their new album, I will relent in naming them. The duo must be rightly confident in this album because why would they put the AOR bantam charge of 'It's Never Too Late' way down the pecking order, track listing wise, when in reality it should had been the initial single release and would be an opening for many bands.

A step down is 'There's No Starting Over' with the keyboards seeping through even the most meaty of riffs displayed at the beginning. Both 'Angel's Cry' and 'Shotgun To The Heart' could both easily feed a more recent Kiss album that you would play more than just once, and show that at the age of these guys they are still flash, fast, sleek and together show they have optimised their time and effects to the best. They have a great partnership; never do they try to outdo each other's performance. 'Never Give Up' is similar to a Nelson tune, and these guys are not even related but come across that they couldn't be happier even if they were twins. Another shot across the melodic bows is 'Cold Dark December' (aren't they all?), here they mix a winter of riffs with a bright chorus like the first rays of the sun at dawn at the winter solstice; it's a particular track worth looking for. Much of the time throughout this album they challenge lots of misconceptions, like 'She's A-KO', they cross the border to power pop, but overall they are still a duo worth revisiting, searching for the lost years and for once they may have found them.

In Summary
Trying to pick up old times has been a thorny (!) subject, especially with Frontiers. I don't want another Crown of Thorns album to be based on sentiment, but some people may do, I don't want an album based just on a record companies request to reform, and this time both the record company and the duo have gone against the grain, they have took the harder option. Bearing in the mind the contentious debates of some Frontiers albums are just a fake regeneration of the past, in this case this is not the case, although when groups do something different they get largely ignored, just feeding various web sites with topics that end up in just a form of bullying rather than positive debate. But, on reflection and in the cold light of day will I continue to play this? And importantly, not just on the slow trudge to work, as sometimes it is difficult as some albums get forever tainted by being the weekly album to play on the work journey, and therefore I struggle to play it in the evening time. While I have been pretty positive, I still do have a serious doubt this will happen, which is a shame, because it deserves better.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on August 13 2015 18:21:43
Best album of the year so far. Regarding the Woughton Centre, I recall they actually made good use of the facilities pre gig and went swimming in the pool!
#2 | englandashes on August 13 2015 18:54:37
Thank you reyno, quite interesting, means a change from changing rooms without showers, actually the venue had a history of some great acts i saw the likes of drive she said, jagged edge, gun,shotgun symphony, fm, tyketto, love hate, dare but i also missed the likes of early gotthard, white sister (i think when they supported fm i may be wrong), and worst of all giant, what was i doing that night.?
Of course best day being the first gods of aor.
#3 | Explorer on August 13 2015 19:34:00
Also saw that UK tour, at the old JB`s in Dudley. The tour bus was bigger than the actual venue. With regards to the album, it`s a strong effort, with, rightly or wrongly, an attempt to recapture the glories of the much loved début.
#4 | reyno-roxx on August 13 2015 20:08:17
I remember seeing Giant there. Gotthard too, when supporting Magnum.
#5 | Explorer on August 13 2015 21:50:57
JB`s is much missed, I actually saw the Mighty Silverwing there too, with about 20 other paying customers.
#6 | reyno-roxx on August 17 2015 22:10:12
That cover... Now that's what real rock stars look like!
#7 | gdazegod on August 18 2015 00:08:34
The hair.. shock white! I still remember that Voodoo X video for 'Voodoo Queen'. That is one of my favourite vids ever.. I still remember seeing a Bailey Brothers interview with Jean.. I think Mick was kinda starstruck! lol..
#8 | code4 on October 23 2015 15:08:03
For whatever else he is famous for amongst AOR fans (I know his solo debut of the 80's gets good reviews as well as later band stuff mentioned on here) this Beauvoir fellow should also be famous to us for trying to turn the Ramones into AOR. Never had any of his stuff (i've wanted his debut for years but it's too rare and expensive) though how he first caught my attention was as the co-writer and producer/arranger behind those Ramones songs such as 'Something to Believe In' and 'Bonzo Goes to Bitburg' in 1986, not to mention he produced the album version (not the boring single version) of 'Pet Sematary' that appeared on their 1989 album Brain Drain- another track awash with keys
#9 | Jez on February 02 2016 12:41:13
The nucleus behind Crown of Thorns return with an excellent album of hooky hard rock, with the trademark Jean Beauvoir sound. A couple of songs short of excellence, but still highly recommended all the same
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