ALICE COOPER has been making albums for 36 years now, and it's amazing that he's still serving up listenable, better-than-average fare while most of his contemporaries have lost their muse completely or are content to flog the old hits over and over again. COOPER has certainly had his ups and downs over his recording history, but he seems to have at long last embraced his Detroit garage-rock origins, as evidenced by 2003's "The Eyes of Alice Cooper" and the new "Dirty Diamonds", his 24th studio release.COOPER recorded "Dirty Diamonds" in 13 days and the effect he was going for is clear: this is an unabashed throwback to the sound that he first pioneered with the BILLION DOLLAR BABIES band during his early Seventies peak. While "Dirty Diamonds" doesn't quite capture the exuberance, theatricality and macabre joy of discs like "Killer" and "Love It to Death", this is a minimalist rock 'n' roll album with a warm, live sound and flashes of the eerie atmosphere that made those early records so memorable. The songwriting here, for the most part, also retains COOPER's way with a catchy pop melody even when he's at his most snarling, as on the anthemic "Steal That Car" and the distortion-heavy title track. Meanwhile, "The Saga of Jesse Jane" is a bizarro COOPER ballad sung in a faux Johnny Cash voice, while another slow tune, "Six Hours", is a creepy companion piece to '70s gems like "Only Women Bleed" and "Ballad of Dwight Frye", featuring a haunting climactic guitar solo. And while tunes like "My Own Worst Enemy" and "Perfect" feature bare bones riffs that seem a little too much like rehashed classic COOP — or even KISS in one or two instances — the songs are infectious and COOPER himself gives solid performances on each one. Only bonus track "Stand", with its completely out of place appearance by rapper XZIBIT, utterly falls flat. "Dirty Diamonds" breaks no new ground and will disappoint anyone who liked COOPER's metallic "Brutal Planet" phase of the mid-Nineties. But for fans of his classic style, this record offers a number of pleasurable memories and some diverse, decent rock 'n' roll as well.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appears next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).