Hardcore Superstar – ‘Split Your Lip’ Album Review

I’ll be honest and upfront here right from the start (actually, I’m normally ALWAYS honest, but a lot of what follows really needs that disclaimer).

I didn’t like Hardcore Superstar all that much.

Their debut album, ‘Bad Sneakers and a Pina Colada’, had a cool title but kinda passed me by, and after that, their sound just seemed a bit ‘dated’. I always looked at them and thought ‘The Eighties are gone – get over it’.

The Sunset strip died a LONG time ago.

BUT

Crue are still touring, just.

Gun’s n Roses aren’t touring, even if Axl says they are. (BITE ME!)

Ratt & Cinderella have reformed for god knows what reason.

AND

If Aerosmith imploded any more spectacularly, they’d leave a black hole.

What I’m trying to say here is this: the people they shared a genre with, they sort of tripped and fell. Quite badly in some cases.

I don’t think it helped that Steel Panther have basically thrown open the curtains and shown everyone how easy the Glam thing was.

Hardcore Superstar haven’t been away, their last album was both well received by fans and (Axl – this bit’s aimed at you) only released last year. so no lengthy gaps to explain either.

So while this isn’t a band with anything to prove, they don’t really have that much to lose either. They pretty much own the genre right now. (Steel Panther don’t count)

However, just to be contrary, ‘Split Your Lip’ is actually pretty good. And that’s coming from a non-fan, remember.

There’s still the swagger of Crue or GnR, but it hasn’t been polished to an inch of its life. It’s rough, and sounds a little cheap. And it sounds perfect. You half expect the CD to be a little sticky, and the inlay card to be a bit damp and covered in Jack Daniels and cigarette ash. It feels like it was recorded in a grimey night club. And it makes you want to go and find one, no matter what time of day it is.

The band say it was recorded live, and it does feel like the four of them are facing each other while they ran through the 12 songs that make up the album. Sounds like they were grinning while they did it too.

Of the tracks ‘Sadistic girls’ and ‘Last call for alcohol’ are the sort of thing Crue wish they could still write: mischievous anthems about the wrong sort of fun. Actually, that’s a theme here: ‘Moonshine’ is a glammy monster, the sort of song a lot of my earliest hangovers started off as.

First time I listened to the album, it sort of fizzled out in the middle – acoustic number ‘Here comes the sick bitch’ is just that little bit Bon Jovi. On a second listen though, it’s SO MUCH better than anything that little assgoblin could come up with – even the birdsong at the end, while it’s obviously tacked on, just WORKS.

There’s even the obligatory grand piano ballad. Yeah, it’s a cliché, but it’s still kinda cool too.

When you’ve given this a decent (and open minded listen) you’ll probably start wondering why you don’t own leather trousers, and whether you really can pull off a ll off a leopardskin bandana.

After a couple of spins, I’m converted. That’s pretty unusual for a band on album number EIGHT. I’ll probably give their other stuff a listen if I find a minute. However, this one will probably end up in the car. The place most albums want to end up in.

Glam metal may well be dying on its arse right now, but Hardcore Superstar have stolen its wallet and are off buying whiskey. Go join them. You’ll have fun. You just won’t remember all of it.

Released 27/11/10 on Nuclear Blast

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3 Comments

  1. Sean November 12, 2010 7:55 pm  Reply

    I have no clue how you got ahold of a review copy of this, I’ve been trying for awhile with no luck…

    Although you started out by kind of trashing the genre, you also seem to have warmed up to it. “Sleaze rock” these days is tough to describe, because everyone immediately wants to slot it in as 80s glam. That’s such a bad habit. You seem to get it though. Sleaze rock is based on early Crue and early GnR, when their music still had some sack to it. In that case, there’s a few other sleaze rock bands you really should check out.

    Crashdiet – The best there is right now in my opinion. First album, Rest in Sleaze, will tear you down, it’s incredible. Their latest, Generation Wild, is much more slickly produced, losing some of that raw sound that made Rest so good, but g’damn is it good. I beg that you skip their 2nd album, Unattractive Revolution. It’s pretty lame.

    Vains of Jenna – Not as good now that they got a new vocalist, but their first two albums are spectacular. Lit Up/Let Down and Art of Telling Lies. The unique vocals are what make it so good, so we’ll see if they’re any good with the new guy.

    Sex Slaves – Out of NYC, incredible live show. Their albums are 50/50, with half being knock you on your ass awesome and the other half being so-so. “thank you lord for jack daniels” is a bit less sleazy, but one of their signature songs.

    Bad City – New band out of Chicago. Kind of a mix of Queen and sleaze. Realllly catchy, highly recommend.

    So yea, keep your ear out for the sleaze scene, it’s what rock n roll intended!

  2. jorge November 19, 2010 10:14 am  Reply

    sorry dude..crappy review and i really don’t understand all this bullshit agains Axl Rose.. aren’t we supposed to be talking about HCSS’s new album?

    Btw, been a HCSS fan since the days of their first album (no, the first album is not “Piña colada…”) and they really have nothing in common with all those bands you mention.

    • james November 19, 2010 11:08 am  Reply

      well….
      From what I gather, ‘Bad Sneakers…’, while essentially a reissue of ‘It’s only Rock n Roll’, pretty much was their debut in as much as it was the debut release in most territories, so most of the world (and the band to some extent) consider it their first proper release. As with most things, it’s a grey area, and sorry if it bugged you, but it really was most peoples first taste of HCSS.

      As far as the Axl bashing goes – I referenced him once, and GnR (by proxy) twice, and yes, while this IS a review of ‘Split…’ I felt it important to add some context here – glam metal/ sleaze rock (or whatever you want to call it) owes just as much of a debt to GnR, Crue and Aerosmith as metal in general owes to Sabbath or Blue Cheer. And ‘nothing in common’ is a matter of opinion – they may not be using as much hairspray as Crue, but they DO claim similar shopping lists. Well, ok, maybe teh same as Hanoi Rocks, but come on – We all have different views, this one was MINE.

      And however you try and describe Axl – he’s now a bad caricature of a formerly blinding frontman.

      As I said, I was never that huge a fan of sleaze (leopardskin scarves simply don’t suit me), but this album WAS a lot of fun – still listening to it as it happens, even though there’s other stuff I need to be working on, so this was really a case of what the album did for ME, the causal ‘almost fan’. I appreciate that the more Hardcore fan may have wanted a bit more ‘meat’ to get an idea of where the band are going, but, since I was essentially picking this up blind, I’m not in a place to really say.

      AND

      I DID say I liked it.

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