johnny Lima picThis week we look at three records oozing pure rock and roll tradition as singer songwriter Johnny Lima (pictured), Swedish sleazegrinders XXX and back from the dead classic rockers Holy Water deliver the goods with varying degrees of success.

Whether you like your rock raw or polished, slick or slightly sick there’s the perfect mix right here as we turn the spotlight on the records rocking rushonrock this week.

Johnny LimaJohnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (Shock Pop Music)

Don’t buy this if you don’t like Def Leppard. But if you do then dive right in. It’s no criticism of Lima that he’s managed to capture the Sheffield crew circa 1987 right across this mightily impressive album – in fact quite the opposite. Livin’ Out Loud is a slick piece of polished hair metal guaranteed to get inside your head and put a smile on your face – unless you worship at the church of Kurt Cobain.

Tracks like I’m On Fire and Somebody To Love are straight out of the Leppard songbook and it’s almost uncanny how close to the NWOBHM legends this album gets. Layered guitars and over-produced harmonies maintain the trend but the impeccable production and overriding feelgood factor mean that the blatant similarities matter little.

It’s impossible to dislike this record. And very easy to rate it one of the best of an increasingly impressive bunch in 2009.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Johnny Ripe

holy waterHoly Water – The Collected Sessions (Perris Records)

A nine-track showcase culled from sessions spanning the past 20 years, this resume of the nearly men of melodic rock should force a swift revision of a largely ignored back catalogue. Mixing Foreigner with Bad English, many of these soaring tracks could and should have been huge AOR hits and it’s a mystery why more attention wasn’t paid to David Knight and band mates back in the day.

If I Knew Then… is as good as, if not better than, anything John Waite has reeled off over the years. In fact it’s so good it makes the cut twice – once from the Green Machine Session tapes and again from the Studio 1212 session.  

But if the idea is to emphasise the quality of this collection of lost classics then it really does the trick. Imagine yourself sometime around 1990 in an LA rock club and any one of these songs would have made your (permed and styled) hairs stand on end. An unexpected pleasure.

rushonrock rated: 8/10 Holy Shit!

XXXXXX – Heaven, Hell Or Hollywood (Perris Records)

Here at rushonrock we had high hopes for this impressively packaged piece of sleaze rock potential but then the music went and spolied all of that. If you can call it music.

Stuck somewhere between Guns N Roses and the Sex Pistols, the shambles that is XXX don’t know where they’re going to or where they’ve come from. The fact that they come from Sweden – that nation of rock lovers and home to so many brilliant bands – is as baffling as their criminal lack of direction and clear lack of quality songs.

Namechecking KK Downing, Sid Vicious, Debbie Harry, Nikki Sixx and Bjorn N’ Benny (surely not the Abba duo – they don’t deserve to have their reputations ruined by inclusion on this hopeless record) on The Wall Of Fame might be some kind of tribute. But you wouldn’t want this lot screaming out your name anywhere.

High hopes and genuine optimism swiftly gave way to deep disappointment and a sense of bewilderment. On the opening track the boys bawl Hello! but it’s more like goodbye. And good riddance.

rushonrock rated: 3/10 XXX-Rated