ALICE COOPER – Road (2023) *HQ*
Produced by longtime collaborator Bob Ezrin, ALICE COOPER upcoming new album “Road” it’s written, composed and recorded with his trusted, longtime bandmates – Ryan Roxie [guitar], Chuck Garric [bass], Tommy Henrikson [guitar], Glen Sobel [drums], and Nita Strauss [guitar].
“Road” channels the spirit of old school Alice with instantly recognizable grit and plenty of gusto. It’s everything you’d hope for from him and more.
“For Road, I wanted the band to be involved in the foundation of all the songs,” says Alice. “I only see these guys when we’re on the road. So, I wanted them to be as tight as they are for the show but on all new material. When you have a band this good, I believe in showing it off, and this is my way of doing so.”
Kane Roberts (a touring and recording collaborator with Alice’s in years past who briefly rejoined Cooper on the road in 2022) makes a special guest appearance, contributing the raucous and rip-roaring “Dead Don’t Dance.” Other special contributors to the album include Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, who co-wrote, and plays and sings backing vocals on “White Line Frankenstein,” and Buckcherry’s Keith Nelson and MC5’s Wayne Kramer, who also co-wrote new songs with Alice.
The master of nightmares is no resting on his laurels as this new album harks back to the man at his absolute best. The band is on fire, the production is precise and the lyrics are Mr Furnier’s tongue in cheek best as always.
Road – Alice album #29 – opens with a musical auto biography with “I’m Alice” and this harks back to your 70s swagger, guitar riffs and lyrical majesty. You can hear so many past songs entwined in this track and with the rock God singing about himself is excellent and I have no doubt this track will slip into the setlist especially with the spoken piece which takes you back to a homage to Vincent Price with a little slice of Bon Scott on Dirty Deeds.
What a way to open the album.
When it comes to releasing so many albums you will always revisit certain aspects and the majority of the titles on “Road” have a little mirror image of the past and on “Welcome to the Show” we have this and a song ripped from the 80s. The guitar work is decades old but on fire all the same. Place your bets on this one opening the next tour as it is a beast and will let the guitarists shine.
The riffage at the beginning of “All Over the World” has that 70s feel again, especially with the additional horns. The song is dedicated to the many tours and shows and the career of the man himself. It is a good old Rock’n’Roll song.
A real veer off on “Dead Don’t Dance” as it visits Alice’s industrial past and this would sit on Brutal Planet easily and it has a catchy as hell vibe. Chuck Garric bass is on top here and directs the death march with beauty and brutality. It is back to Rock’n’Roll again on “Go Away” which has Alice’s sarcasm dripping from your speakers whilst at the same time its crawls into your ear and settling down and refusing to leave. This is classic Alice and something nobody can recreate.
“White Line Frankenstein” is just a beast of a song. You know when Alice puts Frankenstein in a song title it is a dead fire hit. I wonder if we will now get a segment of the live show dedicated to all the Frankensteins?
“Big Boots” is more RnR brilliance. Garric is on fire again and the staccato piano plays perfectly to the simplistic rocker which slips into a very Dr Feelgood (the band, not the album) “Rules of the Road”. I can see Alice dressed as a big bopper on this. We get the layered vocals, the horns and a very hoffner sounding guitar.
As the title of “The Big Goodbye” scrolls onto the screen it kind of hits hard. We do have to face facts that no matter how many gigs or albums the man does one day he will need to hand up the cane and that will be a very sad moment.
Then there’s the more heartfelt “Baby Please Don’t Go”. Alice has done some incredible ballads over the years and this is no different. With that said it does not sound like an Alice track but it is another excellent addition to the catalogue.
On “100 More Miles” it is Alice telling tales from the road again but his has a feel of Steven with Alice doing a mainly talking opening. When the track breaks out is becomes huge, the keys fade away and the rock kicks in and instantly this becomes one of my favourites. I always loved Alice left field tracks/albums and this is slotted into that chapter of titles perfectly.
Final track “Magic Bus” comes out of the traps at full pelt before it settles in to a bastard child of the Beatles and some redneck hoedown. A great way to sign off what could very well be a future Cooper classic.
”Road” is a collection of songs that flutters across the man’s career both musically and lyrically. I suppose an album like this had to happen as the road is in Alice’s DNA. Let’s face it – Alice Cooper lives and dies for the show.
Irrespective of his live show his longevity would never have survived without a backbone of amazing songs and for 50 years this man has produced again and again. There are very few Cooper albums I dislike, very many I love and many more I could not live without – ”Road” slips onto the love pedestal – and after many more listens this is going to sit in my Cooper top 10.
01 – I’m Alice
02 – Welcome to the Show
03 – All Over the World
04 – Dead Don’t Dance
05 – Go Away
06 – White Line Frankenstein
07 – Big Boots
08 – Rules of the Road
09 – The Big Goodbye
10 – Road Rats Forever
11 – Baby Please Don’t Go
12 – 100 More Miles
13 – Magic Bus
Alice Cooper [vocals]
Ryan Roxie [guitar]
Chuck Garric [bass]
Tommy Henrikson [guitar]
Glen Sobel [drums]
Nita Strauss [guitar]