‘Horns and Halos’ is the second studio release from the Michael Monroe band. Although not too different from his Hanoi Rocks roots and other solo outings, the advantage of this latest project is that it seems to be a real band effort. Along for the ride with Monroe are Steve Conte, Sami Yaffa, Karl Rockfist and the most recently recruited Dregen of Backyard Babies fame.
Everyone seems to bring something to the table, as seen on the projects previous effort where Ginger added some Wildhearts riffs and tell-tale song writing traits to the awesome ‘Sensory Overdrive’. Ginger has departed to do his own thing(s) but the addition of Dregen does not make the band any less formidable. It does bring a little bit of a new sound to ‘Horns and Halos’. Dregen gives the band a harder-edged punk sound and a touch of sleaze too, slowly dragging Monroe away from his comfort zone. Not too far away though…
Album opener ‘TNT Diet’ demonstrates the position nicely. It has the harsh punk vocal and guitar stomp but it’s still 100% rock’n’roll. ‘Ballad of the Lower East Side’ has a Jagger aping intro from Monroe whereas ‘Saturday Night Special’ has some welcome and typical Monroe swing to it.
‘Stained Glass Heart’ is a raspy ballad that slows down the pace a little before the title tracks takes things back to optimum rocker velocity. Things carry on with mostly sub-three minute sing-alongs , but ‘Soul Surrender’ sticks out as a moment of brilliance with perhaps the heaviest riff mixed with a reggae style slumber in the verses.
At just over the half hour mark it is perhaps over all a bit too soon but ‘Horns and Halos’ certainly leaves a mark. It’s a great selection of catchy punk rock meets glam rock’n’roll tracks that add plenty to the already gleaming legacy of Michael Monroe. There’s plenty there for the long-time fans but this album is so catchy and hook ridden that it’s certain to attract in anyone with the slightest appetite for rock’n’roll.