Tricky Woo

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Forget the Darkness, Canadian retro-rockers Tricky Woo channel the sleaze and debauchery of the pre-hair metal '80s without the aid of a killer falsetto and the requisite album-closing power ballad. The group's rise from blues-based, psychedelic garage band to full-time metal gods has not been without strife, as it took them four years and a breakup (lauded axe man Adrian Popovitch has returned to the fold) to conjure the blistering First Blush. From the very first notes of "Pink Thunder," it's clear that the boys from Montreal have their mojo back. Singer/guitarist Andrew Dickson, who channels the Cult's Ian Astbury and David Lee Roth simultaneously throughout the record, sneers like a punk with biker ambitions, while Popovitch peppers the choruses with enough harmonic leads to please even the most discerning K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton (Judas Priest) fan. Fans who mourned the band's demise after 2001's woefully uneven Sables Magiques have reason to rejoice.

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