The first thing that hits you about Forever Wild, the new offering from Swedish hair metal magicians Crazy Lixx, is THE SOUND.
In a nutshell, this is the best-sounding record AOR/melodic rock record that wasn’t recorded between 1983 and 1991 I’ve heard in quite some while. Of course, technology has moved on a lot since those days but still, even in an era when it’s technically possible to make an album that sounds like Hysteria in your own living room in a few hours, I’m struggling to think of an album that has quite so successfully captured the sheer euphoric feeling of that period. Of course, forty minutes of appalling flatulence would have sounded good if Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange was in attendance to arrange the backing vocals, I hear you say… and there’s something in that – production only goes so far. So it’s lucky that Danny Rexon and company have come up with a set of the tidiest choons this side of a Loverboy compilation on Forever Wild. A diamond-hard, solid-gold, titanium plated collection of platinum-bound chart toppers one and all, you’ll find yourself alternately punching the air (Silent Thunder) or weepily waving a lighter in the air (Love Don’t Live Here Anymore), all the while wondering whether your best lace-up-the-side leather strides are still in the attic. Forever Wild is that kinda record.
Eagle sounds like something Europe might have come up with at their pompmost, a stately, stentorian, power-chord driven anthem for the ages, but even this isn’t the best track on offer, despite its solid air guitar sparking credentials. That accolade – first among a group of superlative equals, it has to be said – is the quite superb It’s You, an uptempo rocker where every trick in the Crazy Lixx playbook is deployed and executed to the absolute apogee of the band’s ability. Rexon of course stars, his superb Elliott-meets-Hess-meets-Meniketti vocalisation stealing this and every other show it’s involved in, but the support, especially from the twin axe team of Chrisse Olsson and Jens Lundgren must take their share of the plaudits as well. Some of the lead playing on this record is quite, quite superb – names like Dann Huff and Mike Slamer quite often spring to mind, and that’s high praise indeed- not least on It’s You and that tearjerker ballad I was waffling about earlier.
Refreshingly there are no attempts to inject some oh-so-modern social angst into proceedings – music like this is made for pure, hedonistic enjoyment only – with the band concentrating simply on creating a sound that effortlessly emulates the carefree, mad-eyed soundtracks to the sort of wild nights and hot and crazy days that used to be ten-a-penny in 1986. Sadly those days are long gone – but while Danny Rexon has a breath left in his body and a string remaining on his guitar he’ll keep reminding us that there’s a fire in all of us, no matter how remote – that still burns for those times. The euphoric title track of this album proves that, and long may it continue to do so.
Forever Wild is out now.