Review By Mike Paradine
Artist: PUNKY MEADOWS
Album: Fallen Angel
Label: Main Man Records
Release Date: 20th May 2016
02. The Price You Pay
03. Straight Shooter
04. Breathless And Jaded
05. Loaded Gun
06. Lost And Lonely
07. Home Wrecker
08. I Wanna Be Your Drug
09. Leavin Tonight
11. Something Strange
12. Shadow Man
13. Shake Shake
14. Summertime Love
15. Fallen Angel
PUNKY MEADOWS, guitarist from the 70’s legendary cult band Angel, has released his first piece of music in about 35 years since the breakup of his former band. He also brings along the band member Felix Robinson to join in on bass. Now I’ve always been a fan of Angel, having all their music on vinyl but not necessarily liking all their music. I’m really into their first 3 albums with “Helluva Band” being my favorite. A hard rocking album with a semi-progressive feel to it much in vein of Uriah Heep. On the last two albums, the prog-rock style was altogether missing with a pop-rock feel taking its place. Their last studio album “Sinful” should have been called “Awful” as it sided more toward bubble-gum rock. With Angel vocalist, Frank Dimino releasing a real good, hard rock album last year, it’ll be cool to see what Punky has in store with his band. This is one album I’ve been looking forward to listening to since the announcement a few months ago that he was back to writing music again. And so the review of Punky’s new CD, “Fallen Angel” with a short description of each song, begins.
With a foot in the past, the album leads off with ‘Descent’ which was actually the introduction to Angel’s concerts. With some editing, it now pertains to Punky alone. It may be a little cheesy and over dramatic but it’s cool that he leads off the album and gives a nod to his past. It brings back a nostalgia feel to those who saw Angel live and it gives a little bit of what was, to the new listeners.
The first full track, ‘The Price You Pay’ starts out the album right. A good straight melodic rock song with some forceful vocals supplied by Chandler Mogel followed with a meaning guitar solo from Mr. Meadows. As the sound and first chords came in, it reminded me very much of ‘Magic Touch’ from KISS but soon the song found its own legs and that thought was soon forgotten.
Following in those footsteps is the song and first official video, ‘Straight Shooter’. Another solid song with melodic representation and it seems the album is off and running in the right direction.
The first bump in the road comes in the name of ‘Breathless and Jaded’. Am I listening to the Bay City Rollers??? A bouncy and way too happy piece of music that doesn’t really fit with the first two but I understand Punky has various musical tastes so it is to be expected. The highlight..Punkys solo.
One of my favorites from this album is the hard hitting, ‘Loaded Gun’. This is the kind of stuff that I was expecting… solid, driving and with a catchy, melodic chorus and forceful vocals. Good, good song here.
With the album boasting loads of melodic vocal melody, ‘Lost and Lonely’ is a song that you would find on the radio, if they still played new music. With this in mind, I’m finding that the song writing, especially the chorus melodies, have an ear to the 70’s pop bands such as Badfinger, The Raspberries, Sweet and so on.
Does anyone remember that awful band from MTV during the 80’s called Autograph? If not, you’re lucky but if you do, this next song, ‘Home Wrecker’ is right out of their playbook. A bad song with thumping keyboards and the obligatory vocals “alright”, “oh yeah”, “yeah, yeah” overlapping the beginning rhythms.
The eighth track is called ‘I Wanna Be Your Drug’. After listening to this song, all I can say is that you have to be on drugs to like this one.
The only thing close to a ballad on this album is ‘Leavin Tonight’. Singer, Chandler uses a different vocal technique to accomplish a different feel to the song. I do like the song but feel there is a piece missing from it, melody wise. With all the melodic vocal melodies abundant on this album, you would expect it here on this one but it’s missing in action. The one thing that really stands out is Punkys’ guitar playing. Thoughtful, stylish and very emotional, his playing is brilliant and a good stand out point on this CD.
Oh god..another happy, bouncy song with a huge 70’s pop rock influence on the next number, ‘Searchin’. I thought I would never see the day when the bands Autograph and the Bay City Rollers would merge into one, but here it is. I can see the band members singing back up with that painful look on their faces singing the “Yeah, yeah, yeah’s” I’m losing faith.
Ok, ‘Something Strange’ has a hard, good even keeled rock tempo to it. It does have a catchy melody but not to the point where it’s too “poppy”. Another radio friendly song.
With a beginning drum beat, similar to Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Shadow Man’ is probably the most different song in this collection. Gang vocals are the focus here and it I find it really refreshing to hear. This is a cool song.
Starting off like Van Halen’s ‘Somebody Get Me a Doctor’, ‘Shake Shake’ is a real solid rocker. The vocals and the song itself, sound eerily familiar to another 70’s hard rock band that I still listen to called Starz. Chandler is conjuring his very best Starz vocalist, Michael Lee Smith impersonation here. A combination of good hard rock and melody. The one thing though, on some of these songs, is that I wish the vocalist would stop talking over the beginning guitar rhythms like those crappy bands i.e. Poison did in the ‘80’s. It serves no purpose and is just annoying.
I don’t know what to say on the next song called ‘Summertime Love’. It has a laid back, toe tapping rhythm but the beginning vocals are way too nasally and the chorus hits me the wrong way. The melody itself isn’t bad, it’s the repeating of the ”Summertime, Summertime Love” line pulls the song out of whack.
The final song, ‘Fallen Angel’ is my favorite. An instrumental that has punch, drive and hard rock/metal guitar tome and rhythm that I love. Great way to end this album and hope in the future, stays on this course.
Now the band can write good songs but they are missing one ingredient and that is excitement or the thunderbolt that can take it over the top. I can see this band being in the style of the early 70’s band, UFO, who could not only write some of the catchiest, sing along type of melodies but also rock the fuck out of a song. This album falls short of that.
I have always seen Angel as having three types of fans. There are those who like that semi- progressive sound and are into albums 1 thru 3, like myself. There are those that like the pop-rock style that Angel got into later and these fans would be into albums 3 thru 5. And then the rest just like anything that the band put out no matter what. If you are the pop-rock fan and like anything they did, then you’ll love this album. There is nothing wrong with the writing, production or performance. I myself wanted more rock oriented music. Hell, this guy co-wrote songs such as ‘Pressure Point’, ‘Tower’ and ‘Chicken Soup’ which are great songs. I can compare this album to when you were young and you ask Santa Claus to bring you a G.I. Joe figure. You wait all year and finally on Christmas morning, you get a made-in-China, knock-off called Corporal Ken….close but not what you wanted. The album was big letdown for me. Punky should get rid of the fluff and feathers and get his halo dirty a little bit.
Favorite Song(s): Fallen Angel, Loaded Gun, Straight Shooter
Official video for ‘Sharp Shooter’:
Chandler Mogel (OUTLOUD) – Vocals
Punky Meadows (THE CHERRY PEOPLE, BUX, ANGEL) – Lead Guitar
Danny Anniello (LORDS OF MERCY) – Rhythm Guitar
Felix Robinson (ANGEL) – Bass
Bobby Pantella (MONSTER MAGNET) – Drums
Charlie Calv (SHOTGUN SYMPHONY, THE BRONX CASKET CO., LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE) – Keyboards