Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

July 22, 2012

Michael Lee ~ Hold On To Heaven (EP)

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Style: glam, rock
Label: self-released
Year: 2010
Home: Houston, Texas

Members: Michael Lee ~ vocals/guitar/keyboards/bass
Steve Bundrick ~ drums/keyboards/bass
John Bundrick ~ keyboards
Paul Vander ~ b. vocals

Additional: Eric Jimenez, Kathy Crumpler ~ b. vocals

I'll confess I'm not a glam fan, outside of Bowie but he goes beyond glam. I haven't heard as much Marc Bolan as I wish & I like Hanoi Rocks on their final album with Razzle when at their least glammy. I've basically never had a good glam introduction to lead me deeper into its midsts. But, I appreciate those who draw up the scene & keep it alive. Hold On To Heaven certainly in the glam tradition, from the look to the music. Lee is certainly not a guitar shredder & this is far from straight alt-pop rock. It's a bit more pop than I typically gravitate to personally, but having said that I was offered some samples from Lee's album by Ariel Publicity & was given a choice whether I wanted to get a CD or not. I heard something in it, though going against my normal grain, to want the CD. Note, I don't ask for music if I don't have plans to review it. Lee crafts a slick album with no rough spots with lush keyboards, soft vocals & melodic guitars that don't dominate with lots of backing vocals. He sings mythical lyrics of love ... dragons, angels & vampires included. While I prefer music less Scissor Sisters & more hard rock, less polished & more real, I do have to give credit to Lee for interesting vocal arrangements that make up for a less than strong voice, while not crafting a typical chunking guitar pop album. A few reviewers have called him an over-the-top 80's flashback. Briny Fox were over the top 80's & Steel Panther are over-the-top flashback 80's. This is not 80's rock, though it might have some new wave in it. I just don't hear the energy of 80's hair metal here. It does cull from the same source, the glam that inspired Hanoi Rocks that inspired the 80's scene single-handedly, which would explain the comparison, but its limiting to call this an 80's throwback. I love 80's music. I know 80's music. This is David Bowie meets HIM. Lee might not be a glam fan, though the eye make-up says differently, but if this is his interpretation of 80's he's coming through the back door. He's getting the essence of the 80's & the same roots, but with a different shade of pomp & circumstance. Hard rockers won't care for it, but those that like something a bit sweeter & softer & lyrically intimate versus biting, Lee is worth checking out. The album was engineered & drums were provided by Steve Bundrick of the Alice Cooper band. His uncle John "Rabbit" Bundrick appears on a couple tracks. Rabbit has played with the Who, Johnny Nash, Free & Roger Waters ... & if you don't know his work he also played guitar on the original Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. This is Lee's debut, having since released a follow-up. He made his name as a two time Emmy nominated TV editor & productor ranging from E! True Hollywood Story to Super Bowl post-game wrap-ups.

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