Michael Monroe – One Man Gang (Silver Lining Music)
Has there ever been a more apt album title?
One of rock and roll’s great survivors has experienced his fair share of triumphs and frequently flirted with tragedy during a storied career that’s taken in colourful stints with the legendary Hanoi Rocks and born witness to a slew of solo reincarnations.
Where Michael Monroe is concerned, trusted lieutenants come and go, band line-ups peak and trough, live shows sell out and barely shift a hundred tickets.
But through it all the main man has maintained his appetite for balls-to-the-wall glitter punk and stayed true to those riotous early days fronting the Rocks.
As a One Man Gang, Monroe is unbreakable.
And this celebration of the music he loves – and the lifestyle it encourages – stands toe to toe with the very best chapters of a lengthy back catalogue.
Thrown together in just three weeks, the urgency underpinning One Man Gang is very much part of its instant appeal.
Reflecting the passion and power of a no-holds-barred Monroe show it benefits from a perfectly pitched production – courtesy of the frontman’s long-time collaborators Rich Jones and Steve Conte.
And Captain Sensible’s candid cameo on the album’s unifying title track is just one example of how the stars align on a stirring body of work.
There’s the sax, the sass and the unequivocally badass – trademarks of any Monroe album that prove there are still few better exponents of pop punk pageantry.
Hollywood Paranoia and Last Train To Tokyo are an obvious nod to past glories with their familiar lyrical themes and retro grooves.
But it would be wrong to suggest Monroe is a man rooted in the past.
This One Man Gang has always looked to the future with steely determination and that unmistakably wry smile.