ALICE COOPER - Paranormal
August 15, 2017, a month ago
(earMUSIC / Sony)
“If there’s a theme to this album, it’s something you’re not expecting from Alice,” says Alice Cooper regarding his 27th studio effort. Several of those surprises lurk within the personnel found on Paranormal: U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. can be heard on nine songs, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons plays guitar on “Fallen In Love”, and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover lays down the bass on the title track. Co-produced and co-written by long-time collaborator Bob Ezrin, Paranormal is the first batch of new music from The Coop in six years.
Beginning with the wonderfully dark and creepy “Paranormal”, this track is signature Alice. Visions of how such a gem will be played out on stage begin to appear before the mid-song mark. “Dead Flies”, according to Alice, is his attempt at writing “Generation Landslide” Part Two. A mediocre “Fireball” revolves around a dream that becomes reality. “Paranoiac Personality” is the equally theatrical sibling to “Paranormal” – bound to be a hit live. “Fallen In Love” comes across as swanky, but not quite as clever as Aerosmith’s “Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)”, whereas “Dynamite Road” is an almost futile mixture of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band, and the KISS classic “Detroit Rock City”. Then in “Private Public Breakdown”, Alice sings, “I’m on my knees but not to pray.” Horns are just a blaring in the somewhat out of place, Dixieland flavoured, “Holy Water”. “Rats” is a welcome, solid rocker; yet “The Sound Of A” has more in common with Pink Floyd than the snake, guillotine, and straightjacket.
Disc two starts with a pair of brand new songs written and recorded with original Alice Cooper band members Dennis Dunaway (bass), Neal Smith (drums), and Michael Bruce (guitar). “Genuine American Girl” is decent, but loses points for the oh-so-cheesy line, “I’m only 30 out of 50 Shades Of Grey.” “You And All Of Your Friends” brings the drum thunder and “angels without pity” in an invigorating manner. Finally, all members of the current Alice Cooper band – guitarists Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie, and Tommy Henriksen, along with bassist Chuck Garric, and drummer Glen Sobel – appear together on six classic cuts recorded live in May 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. These all-time faves, including “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, and “School’s Out” sound incredible; a real treat for fans.