Saying there's an element of cheese to BRAND NEW SIN's phlegmy, burly biker rock is like saying Ozzy occasionally mumbles a little bit. This band serves up great reeking fondue pots of swaggering clichés, somewhere between cock rock, TOBY KEITH, GODSMACK and ZAKK WYLDE's sweaty leather Harley vest. We've got dead men walking, our days are numbered, freight trains are runnin' and vicious cycles are making us black and blue. The low point comes during album closer "Wyoming", where singer Joe Altier yowls about "my boots, my pride and my gun" with enough maudlin shitkicker bonhomie to annoy even a KID ROCK fan. Ease up, there, Marlboro Man, you're from fuckin' Syracuse.
But the hell of it is, once you get past the relentlessly contrived faux-Southern kitsch, there are some fine tunes on "Flirtin' With" — sorry, I mean "Recipe For Disaster". Single "Black and Blue" is an asskicker, with a guitar riff that calls to mind Randy Rhoads-era Ozzy, while "Running Alone" and "Once In a Lifetime" provide some dark, brooding balladeering (and some of the schlockiest moments on the album). "Brown Street Betty" swaggers like the best cowboy-hat hard rock bands of the late '80s (think BADLANDS and LAW AND ORDER, or a less sleazy CIRCUS OF POWER).
The album is weighed down by a lot of uninteresting tracks — "Recipe For Disaster" is definitely one of those records where the good stuff is stacked up front. "Vicious Cycles" and "Another Reason" are just sorta there, while "Days Are Numbered" bears out the hair metal comparison above — seriously, this is an L.A. GUNS song, chicken-fried and dipped in gravy. The boogie-dude shtick is most annoying on songs like these, where the ideas aren't there to at least make the songs good and cheesy, and we're left with this wanky Sunset-Strip-MOLLY-HATCHET conceit and no hooks to rock out to. Altier seems to have limited himself a bit this time around, as well — the vocal lines were just more interesting on the self-titled album, and there were more harmonies to keep things from getting too one-dimensional – an easy trap to fall into, given his gruff, limited range.
I liked BRAND NEW SIN's first album just fine, and I don't really even mind this one – I just wish they'd have written an album full of tunes as strong as "Arrived", "Black and Blue" and "Brown Street Betty". Even with its flaws, though, fans of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, COC's more polished moments and a little guilty-pleasure helping of the GODSMACK/STAIND school of modern rock will find a lot to love on "Recipe For Disaster".