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Hotel Diablo – ‘The Return To Psycho, California’

Hotel Diablo should know a thing or two about sleaziness… after all, guitarist Alex Grossi has been involved with Bang Tango and Quiet Riot, as well as being an on-off-on touring (and sometime recording) member of Adler’s Appetite, the latter alongside vocalist and fellow HD founder Rick Stitch. Throw in another former Axl Rose sidekick, in the form of Gilby Clarke on production duties and you really would expect an album born in and subsequently ripped from the dark sewers of Sunset Strip.

The overall effect generated by this debut album – the title is a reference to last year’s ‘Psycho, California’ EP – is not quite as down’n’dirty as you might at first infer from the pedigree behind it. Certainly, Bang Tango is one of the acts that immediately comes to mind, alongside the likes of White Lion, Sea Hags, a less bluesy Great White – and even The Scorpions, especially on the opening track, ‘Taken’.

It’s not until the ballad ‘What You Do To Me’ that the album really grabs you by the balls. The song itself opens with an acoustic melody that harks back to a stripped down ‘November Rain’, but with a cleaner production and a less gruff vocal. Stitch’s voice isn’t the most powerful, but it perfectly suits the mellower nature of most of the tracks – but also works well when he moves things down a bit for the vitriolic, stomping title track, which is the true highlight of the album: an anthem of the sort that, along with ‘Bury You’ and ‘Wicked Lines’, 25 or so years ago would have them shooting towards the upper echelons of the US singles chart, but sounds a little too squeaky clean in today’s marketplace.

The songs are all strong – which sort of negates the need for a forgettable version of ‘Wonderwall’ and two alternative versions tacked onto the end – and strongly performed, and benefits from a few listens… and would also have benefitted immensely from a bit of roll around in the Californian deserts rather than spending too much time developing a tan on the state’s beaches…

[7/10]

Track list:

1. Taken
2. All These Years
3. What You Do To Me
4. Psycho, California
5. Bury You
6. Set It Off
7. Wicked Lines
8. Wonderwall
9. Trigger
10. What You Do To Me (alternative version)
11. Bury You (alternative version)

‘The Return To Psycho, California’ is out now on Scarlet Records and can be bought by clicking on the Amazon banner below.

Visit the band’s official website at http://www.thehoteldiablo.com/

About Mark Ashby

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