Krokus

One Vice at a Time

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Why does an MC go from preaching a positive, uplifting message of African-American pride to celebrating drugs and promiscuity? Why does a serious jazz saxophonist suddenly give up hard bop and start emulating Kenny G? And why does a gutsy, risk-taking alternative country artist end up playing it safe and turning into yet another Shania Twain or Garth Brooks clone? It's simple -- the artist gets sick of struggling, takes a look at the marketplace and decides to go with what is profitable instead of sticking to his/her creative guns. Krokus was a lot like that. The Swiss headbangers didn't start out as headbangers; they were originally a progressive rock outfit along the lines of Yes, Genesis, and ELP. But when the band didn't get anywhere commercially, it decided to cash in on metal's popularity and started emulating AC/DC. Krokus' detractors would argue that One Vice at a Time is the work of a poor man's AC/DC -- and, to be sure, this 1982 LP is formulaic and contrived. But while Krokus wasn't easy to respect or admire, it was easy to like. AC/DC-minded tunes like "Save Me" and "Long Stick Goes Boom" aren't very imaginative, but they're infectious and enjoyable nonetheless. From Krokus' own songs to a cover of the Guess Who's "American Woman," everything on this album is catchy. Is One Vice at a Time derivative and shamelessly unoriginal? Yes. But it's still a fun record and ends up being a very guilty pleasure.

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