Despite the obvious – and very, very well-founded – chortling about Maryann Cotton – the band and their stylistic debt to one Vincent Furnier, there is something so eloquently and irrefutably rock n’roll about new album Hallelujah (El Puerto Records) a fact that puts this record on the very top shelf, a long, long way out of the reach of it’s detractors.

Y’see Maryann Cotton – the man – (real name Jackie Patino – he’s Hal Patino out of King Diamond‘s son!) drills a line straight into rock n’roll’s long-thought dead heart time and again on this record; Album closer My Own Way IS the Coop, basically – by way of Jimmy Webb‘s Wichita Lineman, if ya wanna get really mired in classic rock trainspotting –  a stadium-devouring piece of hard rock balladry wrapped in orchestrated pomp and circumstance on the surface yet at it’s heart a lovable loser that needs a freshly-popped Bud on rising to get the ol’ heart started of a morning. And if Take Me Home (Delilah) weaves in a few influences more modern in aspect (The Darkness and Pittsburgh’s Gene The Werewolf spring to mind) to keep younger ears in the game, then the overweening feeling you’ll take away from this record is that the future of classic rock is safe in the hands of young Mr Patino.

Personally, I’d like to see a bit of Prettiest Cop on the Block quirk thrown in to the mix, but it’s probably for the best in commercial terms that Cotton stick to Cooper’s first classic period for inspiration. White Pearl reeks of a seventies summer spent by a steamy lake trying to get off with Cheerleaders, with all of the promise of filth that thought entails, but if that’s a bit too saucy for you you might like to try Eternal Love Forever, wherein Kiss at their balladic best are given a big, slobbery, erm, kiss by way of thanks for the inspiration.

There’s a whole chunk of the rock community that’ll disregard this album purely because of it’s tribute-style referencing of the early career of Alice Cooper; Don’t let yourself fall into that category, because if you do you’ll be missing out on one of the best-written, most stylishly executed albums to poke it’s head above the parapet thus far in 2020. It is derivative, certainly, but when Sebastian Sly launches into solos of the quality of the one on the outro to the title track all those doubts will fly out of the door if you’ll hold it open for them, which you most definitely should.

Hallelujah is released on July 3rd.