What’s the Rockbrat Listening To Today? XYZ – XYZ (1989)

Bands like XYZ were dime a dozen back in the late 80s. XYZ were not a BAD band, they just weren’t great. They were garden variety heavy metal, non descript, run of the mill. Original tunes that lacked the crucial originality to make them memorable, to stand out from the pack. Back then, heavy metal bands sold squillions of albums and raked in a pot of gold for all the record companies. Every major label wanted to have the next G ‘n’ R, Jovi or Motley on their label, the result being that many pretty average bands were picked up in the trawl. Long hair, cowboy boots, leather pants and matching mirror-kiss pout. They were on every corner and all largely looked and sounded like each other. Bands like Firehouse, Leatherwolf, the awful Salty Dog etc were all picked up – and by 1992/93 were all by and large ceremoniously dumped back out to sea with the other detritus where they belonged. XYZ were an LA band who formed back in 86. They started off as the unofficial house band of “The Whiskey”, nightclub. They toured the US with Enuff Z’Nuff and Alice Cooper following the release of this, their 1989 Enigma released debut album. The album was produced by Don Dokken. Let’s take a listen to the album. It opens with ‘Maggy’. Good kick ass metal, a strong tune and a promising start – albeit with a wanky solo. Track 2 is ‘Inside Out’. I actually bought the 7” single of ‘Inside Out’ when it was released. Good tune. Catchy, melodic, good riff. Very Zeppelinesque, like Kingdom Come, and comes complete with a finger tapping guitar solo! Dude! Two out of two, and then on to track 3. Uh oh. A ballad, ‘What Keeps Me Loving You’. And there’s that annoying solo again, far too many notes for my liking. In this era, the more notes you played, dude, the better the tune. Right ? Wrong. ‘Take What You Want’ rocks harder, and has a pumping riff – yet like a lot of the other tunes, they are fairly indistinguishable. Vocalist Terry Ilous does have a great voice though. With comparisons to Don Dokken somewhat appropriate. These guys are all hot players – no doubt. But they lack the SONGS. Poison were average musicians, but they wrote catchy songs. Anyway, where was I ? “Follow The Night’, ‘Come On And Love Me’, both follow the same path. Average tunes, great playing, like a low-cal version of George Lynch. Uh-oh. Get your lighter out, its ballad time again with “Souvenirs”. Again, not a bad tune, but not stand outish.  Any lyric with “rainbow in your eyes” ain’t gonna cut it. Rainbow in the dark maybe….It does have a piercing vocal shriek though. ‘Tied Up’ has more of the guitar squeals that I love so much and a cliché lyric. Dude, there’s a guy like you on every street corner – and therein lies the problem. It sounds like everybody else. The album closes with “After The Rain”, which I half expected to be an Angels cover, but no, it’s another ballad for the girls who have just broken up with their boyfriends. This album itself was not an overall success, managing to reach only #99 on the Billboard charts. Terry Ilous is currently on vocals for Great White, replacing Jack Russell. Perhaps comparisons to Salty Dog are unfair – as nothing could be as bad as that dross. I’ll give this a 5 out of 10.

One thought on “What’s the Rockbrat Listening To Today? XYZ – XYZ (1989)

  1. I second that opinion regarding the lack of catchy tunes.

    I like their 2nd album “Hungry” better. Especially the song “Don’t Say No” – what a corker! And also the bonus song (from French label’s Axe Killer CD re-release) “Two Wrongs Can Make a Right” – that one grooves, too!

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