Album Review: Beauvoir Free – “American Trash”
In 1992, the KISS-backed quartet Crown of Thorns signed to Interscope Records for a cool one million dollars. Things didn’t exactly go to plan however, with the band’s much-hyped debut getting pulled by the label in the midst of the grunge revolution, and from there the line-up quickly fell apart. Two decades on, Crown of Thorns’ key components, the outrageous industry wunderkind Jean Beauvoir and ex-Shalamar guitarist Micki Free, have reunited to release American Trash, a hard-rock collection that might just turn a few heads.
There’s a couple of striking things about this release, so let’s first mention the elephant in the room. Starting as it did with the blues, rock and metal should, in theory, be colourblind, but much to its shame 1980s glam metal really was a white man’s game. The sight then of a 6ft something Haitian-American sporting an utterly ridiculous blonde Mohawk and exuding exuberance on the record’s sleeve, feels both reassuring and long overdue.
The second point of note, is that irrespective of image, Beauvoir and Free can, and do, stand out on talent alone. The debut Crown of Thorns LP may have been stillborn in the USA, but the self-titled album eventually found a home in the UK’s burgeoning melodic rock scene. The record garnered rave reviews and stands as something of a high-tide mark for the genre. It’s a sound Beauvoir and Free appear happy to revisit.
The eleven tracks here are evidently targeted towards established fans, however, there’s plenty to appeal to a wider audience. American Trash mixes confident down the line hard rock, with flashes of soul, funk and huge multi-layered choruses. Beauvoir and Free have a clear and present chemistry, with the latter’s hard-hitting hooks anchoring the act in the rootsy Zep-esque rock of the 1970s. By contrast Beauvoir’s vocals add a touch of extravagance and spectacle. If you can see past the mohawk (seriously, it’s a BIG mohawk), this one should appeal to anyone who likes their rock, loud, brash and melodious.