Jizzy Pearl's Love/Hate

Hell, CA

Golden Robot
rating icon 7.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. One Hot Minute
02. Acid Babe
03. Gonna Take You Higher
04. Soul Mama
05. Hard to Say Goodbye
06. When You Gonna Come Home
07. Last Chance
08. Bruised and Battered
09. Wanna Be Somebody
10. Lonely Days are Gone

A great band with terrible timing, LOVE/HATE released two of the finest albums of the whole glam/hair metal movement, just as the world was moving on and embracing the dour slurry of grunge instead. Both "Blackout in the Red Room" and "Wasted in America" stand up just fine today, too: snotty, balls-out rock records, full of great songs and palpable attitude. Four further albums followed, but regardless of their quality, heavy music was plainly looking elsewhere. Thirty years on, and after several false starts and unexpected detours, JIZZY PEARL has finally assembled a line-up worthy of the band's name and made an album that very nearly matches the priapic energy of those aforementioned classics. "Hell, CA" is a big, brash and belligerent rock 'n' roll album, and Pearl sounds exhilarated to be part of it.

This is an exercise in keeping things simple. "One Hot Minute" is the archetypal rock album opener; funky and fast-paced, it tells you everything you need to know about LOVE/HATE's musical intentions, while also sounding like a mass brawl in some sleazy, shitpot bar. Job done, you might say.

From then it's simply a matter of LOVE/HATE doing what they always did, albeit with more sonic muscle than those old albums were ever afforded. "Acid Babe" is an impossibly groovy strut through lysergic visions of sex and scandal; "Gonna Take You Higher" is all sinewy, glam rock riffs and psychedelic scuzz; "Soul Mama" is a swaggering, AC/DC-style hoedown; "When You Gonna Come Home" is a wonderfully rowdy and loose-limbed Southern rock anthem. None of it is remotely unexpected, of course, but the quality of these songs more than justifies the price of admission. Throughout it all, Jizzy Pearl sings his veteran head off, still sounding like he's had far too many late nights and nailing every hook with ill-disguised glee.

It takes a certain musical intelligence to make music as straightforward and familiar as this without descending into lazy pastiche or parody. "Hell, CA" is a serious comeback and a hugely enjoyable surprise. Back in 1990, LOVE/HATE kicked more ass than most. When it comes to straight-ahead rock 'n' roll, they still do.

Author: Dom Lawson
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