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Sensory Overdrive

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Album Review

More than a quarter century may have gone by since singer Michael Monroe's band Hanoi Rocks passed from existence, but Monroe continues to carry the flag for their style of hard rock, with his solo album Sensory Overdrive being another example. That style recalls the garage rock of the mid-'60s, the proto-punk sound of the New York Dolls, in the early ‘70s, and the post-punk of late-‘70s power pop, also anticipating the hair metal with which Monroe was associated in the ‘80s. Thus, the tempos are fast, the guitar plays ringing power chords, and the vocals are a penetrating screech, the whole achieving energy and irresistible drive. That description applies to the music on Sensory Overdrive, which, musically could have been made in 1978, the year referenced in the song "'78," in which Monroe sings, "You can take the boy out of ‘78/The style's gonna change, but the sentiment ain't." Actually, it's the style that has stayed the same, thanks not only to Monroe, but also to bassist Sam Yaffa, another alumnus of Hanoi Rocks, guitarist Steve Conte, drummer Karl Rockfist, and veteran hard rock producer Jack Douglas. The sentiment expressed in Monroe's lyrics, meanwhile, has changed, if only to reflect the many years in between then and now. Monroe is withering on the subject of contemporary life, as the caustic "Modern Day Miracle" attests with its chorus, "Your modern day miracle is giving me a headache." He would rather view the present in terms of his own survival, noting in "All You Need" that "I'm still standing tall" and in "Gone Baby Gone," "I'm back on my feet again." Obviously, he is no stranger to clichés, and the music isn't original, either. But anyone who loves rock & roll that's loud and fast will enjoy Sensory Overdrive.

Customer Reviews

Great Rock and Roll

Great song writing and really rocks. Sammy and Steve made the right move in switching from the Dolls to join Michael Monroe. With elements of classic punk and classic rock this CD still manages to sound fresh.
Love the sax break in Later Won't Wait.


Born: June 17, 1960 in Helsinki, Finland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In a perfect world, Michael Monroe would have been one of the leading frontmen of the ‘80s glam metal movement -- leaving most of his unbearable contemporaries in the dust. Born Matti Fagerholm on June 17, 1960, in Helsinki, Finland, Monroe played saxophone with a variety of Finnish bands throughout the late ‘70s before eventually switching to vocals, and helping co-form Hanoi Rocks in 1980. Preceding Mötley Crüe by several years, Hanoi Rocks was one of the first groups in several years to adopt...
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Sensory Overdrive, Michael Monroe
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