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Vinyl

Dramarama

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Album Review

Finding itself on a major label for the first time in its career, Dramarama maintained the overall course of its career with Vinyl, combining smart pop/rock kicks and a sense of hip cool for grand overall results. With Brian Macleod taking over the drum duties from departed sticksman Jesse and keyboard/guitar player Tommy T stepping in on a track or two, the otherwise still-in-one-piece group creates and performs up to the best of its considerable abilities. Guest help doesn't hurt either, most often coming from Tom Petty keyboardist Benmont Tench, but Vinyl is still clearly Dramarama's vision rather than anything else. "Haven't Got a Clue" keeps up the winning streak of brilliant first singles from the band's releases, starting with a sample from the legendary Tube Bar crank call series and hitting a great mid-paced groove with a gently descending glam melody. "I've Got Spies" is equally brilliant, a nugget of romantic paranoia that rivals the Who's "I Can See for Miles," with delicious singing from Easdale and a great main melody. Another great moment comes with "Classic Rot" — a knowing trashing of groups that have lasted way too long, it draws the line clearly between simply re-creating and re-listening to the same old hash and, as the band itself does, taking inspiration from the past and creating their own sound. Even tastier is the identity of the guest guitar player — as the liner notes proudly say, "THE Mick Taylor, of Rolling Stones fame." The Stones themselves — or more accurately Mick Jagger — are the beneficiaries of the cool cover version this time out, in this case a fine take on "Memo From Turner." All in all, Vinyl shows Dramarama still in rude creative health, right down to the neat artwork and the bold Marc Bolan song lyric on the back of the CD booklet: "John Lennon knows your name/and I've seen his."

Biography

Formed: 1983 in Wayne, NJ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Blending hard rock wallop, alternative rock smarts, power pop songcraft, and punk rock urgency, Dramarama was a band who seemed on the verge of a major commercial breakthrough several times during their 11-year career. Puzzlingly, it never arrived, though the band developed a potent following in their native New Jersey as well as the West Coast; their almost-hit, "Anything Anything (I'll Give You)," was cited by L.A.'s KROQ-FM, arguably America's most influential alternative rock outlet, as the most...
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Vinyl, Dramarama
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