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Another impeccable 21st Century turn from Alice: Back to garage rock
on 25 August 2010
For his third album of the 21st Century - the third album of his second coming - Alice completely changes tack. He jettisons any semblance of a concept album, of industrial metal and of dark social commentary. In its place is the raw garage rock of his very early career - straight up and down, no frills, energetic guitar rock songs - and it delivers an absolute winner.
With an over-riding live one-take feel, `The Eyes of Alice Cooper' rocks its way through some truly fine unpolished early 70s style pop rock which Ole Black Eyes has mostly co-written with his guitarists, Eric Dover and Ryan Roxie. It almost feels like they are playing in a garage somewhere - and having a stack of fun doing so.
Things kick off with hilarious abandon in the guitar rocker, `What Do You Want from Me?', about a complete loser trying to please his woman. Other top shelf highlights in the rock department are `Between High School and Old School', `Man of the Year', `Spirit Rebellious' and `Love Should Never Feel like This'. The mid-tempo `Novocaine' and slightly softer `Be With You Awhile' are excellent, while `This House is Haunted' - the only throwback to his ongoing nightmare, and a subdued one at that - provides some strangely beautiful tender and contemplative moments to proceedings. At 13 songs in length, the less crafted `I'm So Angry' and `Backyard Brawl' close the set in a fairly superfluous fashion and could easily have been left off.
It is true that this album does not hit you immediately. Its raw and boisterous indie edge is at odds with the high, glossy production of the other albums Cooper had recorded since 1989's `Trash'. But after a few spins, its infectious soul reveals itself splendidly. Coupled with his two preceding 21st Century efforts, particularly 2000's sterling `Brutal Planet', it sees him continuing an astonishing creative, if not commercial, comeback.