Album Review: The Erotics – “The Songs Remain Deranged”
Oh blimey, now there’s a name I hadn’t seen in a while. Let me give the younger readers amongst you a bit of background here – way way back in the mid-noughties, The Erotics were the American arm of the stillborn sleaze rock revival that was part caused by Motley Crue’s The Dirt going supernova, and part reaction to the dweeby emo Bert & Ernie’s clogging up the pages of Kerrap! at the time.
Boosted by positive reviews of their gleefully out-to-shock 2003 album All That Glitters Is Dead, they timed their initial tours on these shores to perfection to coincide with that movement hitting its peak, and the likes of Rock ‘n’ Roll Killing Machine and Drink, Fight & Fuck were almost unofficial anthems for a whole generation of Camden-dwelling hairspray abusers. However, the last I heard of them was the Today The Devil, Tomorrow The World album almost a decade ago, and I’d simply assumed the band had run its course and quietly passed into the ether, the way many of their less gifted British contemporaries (Red Star Rebels, Jack Viper, Lionsex et al) thankfully did around that time.
Erotics frontman Mike Trash is nothing if not a persistent bugger though, and so 2019 sees the band back with a new effort. The big surprise is that when the blistering opener Angel, Devil & Me kicks in, you’re actually shocked by how good it sounds. Yes, it’s still very much the one part old-skool WASP and one part Raise Your Fist And Yell era Alice Cooper that the Erotics have always done, but it’s definitely got an enjoyable kick to it – maybe absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
The trouble is that it only takes about three or four songs before The Songs Remain Deranged starts to sound as if it’s repeating itself a bit. Sure, there’s a few slight deviations from the template – Midnight Creatures owes a nod to early 80s Kiss (even the title screams Creatures of the Night) and I Dismember You could easily have come from a mid-noughties Wednesday 13 album, right down to the horror pun-tastic title, but all in all, a lot of the songs feel decidedly interchangeable and a bit on the predictable side.
By and large then this is a solid rather than spectacular album, and genuinely feels a bit predictable to be classed as a big all-guns-blazing comeback. Respect to Trash and his gang for sheer bloody-mindedness in giving this another go, but it’s difficult to see The Songs Remain Deranged getting any new converts on board for them.
I've heard worse albums than this in the last few months make no mistake, and for the few remaining sleaze rock die-hards out there, I'm pretty sure "The Songs Remain Deranged" will satisfy your cravings for scummy guitar rock. It's just that this album feels a bit too predictable to really appeal to anyone beyond that inner circle.