In the early- to mid-'80s, Hanoi Rocks was the quintessential Sunset Strip hair band -- and they weren't even from southern California. Hanoi Rocks, of course, was formed in Finland, but their trashy, hedonistic, decadent hard rock/pop-metal boogie influenced so many Los Angeles headbangers (including Mötley Crüe, Guns N' Roses, Warrant, Faster Pussycat, L.A. Guns, and Poison) that they might as well have grown up next to the Whiskey-a-Go-Go. Although Hanoi called it quits in 1985, their influence on pop-metal remained quite strong throughout the late '80s -- and it wasn't until the Nirvana/Pearl Jam/grunge upheaval of 1992-1993 that their influence started to decline. When the '90s came to a close, it seemed like a safe bet that Hanoi would never see the light of day again, but much to the surprise of die-hard pop-metal enthusiasts, founding members Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy re-formed Hanoi Rocks in 2002 with a new lineup that included guitarist Costello, bassist Timpa, and drummer Lacu -- and the result of that reunion is Twelve Shots on the Rocks. This CD is totally oblivious to post-'80s developments in hard rock; the album sounds like it could have been recorded 20 years earlier. Monroe and McCoy offer no acknowledgment of the alternative rock scene of the early 2000s, which is probably just as well because they bring a great deal of conviction to their new material. Fans of Hanoi's '80s recordings needn't worry about whether or not Monroe and McCoy still have their old chemistry; their rapport is as strong as ever, and all of the hard rock, punk, and glam influences that served them so well back in the day -- Kiss, the New York Dolls, Aerosmith, the Stooges, Alice Cooper, Slade, Mott the Hoople, among others -- are very much at work on this CD. Although not quite as essential as Hanoi's early-'80s recordings, Twelve Shots on the Rocks is an exciting return to form for Monroe and McCoy.
Twelve Shots on the Rocks Review
by Alex Henderson