Despite his undeniable credentials as a punk rock guitar hero, having manned the six-string for the Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs as well as working with Sonny Vincent, Jeff Dahl, and Syl Sylvain, Cheetah Chrome had never released a solo studio album when the EP Solo appeared in 2013, though it wasn't for want of trying. Solo was compiled from material cut for two uncompleted projects -- 1996 sessions produced by Genya Ravan, who was behind the controls for the Dead Boys' classic debut Young, Loud and Snotty, and 2010 material with Sylvain -- and what's here leaves no doubt that Chrome has the gifts to make a solid album. Chrome's fiery guitar work is still fierce and commanding, but he's also a top-shelf songwriter, laying out hard-edged tales of life in the unforgiving side of the big city with hard-won wisdom and tough melodic hooks. And if Chrome's voice isn't sweet, his hearty bellow suits this music perfectly, and he sings with a passion that reinforces the gritty realism of the lyrics. "Rollin' Voodoo," "No Credit," and "Love Song to Death" are as good as anything Chrome has recorded with his better-known collaborators, and everything here is full of great guitar and street-smart wisdom (except for the opening cut, "Sharky," an instrumental that gets by on its melodic cool). Someone give this man a contract and a decent budget: Solo confirms Cheetah Chrome is still one of America's toughest and most underrated rock & roll talents, and you can't help but believe there's more where this came from.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming