The Hellacopters

Rock & Roll Is Dead (Liquor & Poker)

SXSW Records

The Hellacopters

Rock & Roll Is Dead (Liquor and Poker)

Sweden's Hellacopters chopped the classic into rock from the first whir of their high-flying Seventies barrage. In the beginning, '95-'99, punk and metal went tooth & tail until 2002's High Visibility lightened the load with keyboards, ballads, acoustic guitars, and '04's By the Grace of God perfected the formula to exhilarating effect. Rock & Roll Is Dead represents a holding pattern. Neither as lithe as Visibility, nor as lightning as God, the hellbent quintet's sixth studio LP breaks only old ground – opening Chuck Berry rip "Before the Fall" – and that evolutionary stasis relegates early LP cuts "Everything's on T.V." and "Monkeyboy" to sounding like outtakes from the last two efforts. "Bring It on Home" gets undercut by keyboards where bass/guitar/drums should pile drive, while "I'm in the Band" strips away those keys without ever reaching full density. In fact, Rock & Roll's fast tempo seems to substitute for mass, like drummer Robert Eriksson was first on the demos rather than singer/guitarist Nicke Andersson and six-string cohort Robert Dahlqvist. "I Might See You Tonight," the sort of cruising road ballad radio once burnished into rock classicism, teams with better half "Make It Tonight" as the disc's ace of hook and melody. Even Dead, the Hellacopters soar. (Saturday, March 18, 1am @ Emo's Main)


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