Michael Monroe – Sensory Overdrive

January 01, 1970





When Hanoi Rocks broke up for the second time, singer
Michael Monroe unsurprisingly resumed his solo career. Recognizing, however,
that he’s at his best in the confines of a band, Monroe trolled the ranks of
the rock & roll underground and put together what in a more balanced
universe would be considered a supergroup: Ginger from the Wildhearts and Steve
Conte, late of the New York Dolls, on guitar, Karl Rockfist (née Roqvist) of
the Chelsea Smiles on drums and his old Hanoi bandmate (and another ex-Doll)
Sami Yaffa on bass. After a teambuilding tour (including a stint opening for
Motörhead – talk about a trial by fire – and the live document Another Night in the Sun), Monroe and his mates hit
the studio and conjured up Sensory
, his first solo record in a good eight years.


It would be nearly impossible for this combination of
players and writers to come up with a bad record, and sure enough, they don’t –
Sensory Overdrive is packed with
slick, sneering sonic wallops. The deft mixture of hard rock riffs and glam pop
hooks indicates that Ginger likely wielded the heaviest hand in the writing
stages, but that’s hardly a bad thing, and entirely appropriate, given the
Wildhearts leader’s debt to Monroe’s
old band. Regardless of credit shares, though, the proof is in the pudding:
“Modern Day Miracle,” “Later Won’t Wait” and “Debauchery As a Fine Art”
(featuring writing and vocal assists from Lemmy Kilmister) simply kick ass,
while “’78,” “Center of Your Heart” and “Bombs Away” provide the requisite
singalongs for immediate crowd consumption. “Gone Baby Gone” (featuring Lucinda
Williams, of all people, on background vox) and “Superpowered Superfly” fall
into a more midtempo groove – surprising, but one with which Monroe sounds perfectly comfortable.


Indeed, inspired by the power of his band and the strength
of the songs, Monroe
really rises to the occasion here, showing more control, finesse and character
than ever before – this is the vocal performance of his career. Hanoi Rocks
fans may bristle at the notion, but every spin indicates that Sensory Overdrive is the best record of
Michael Monroe’s long, crazy career.


DOWNLOAD: “’78” “Gone
Baby Gone,” “Center of Your Heart” MICHAEL TOLAND

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