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Sin Salvation

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Album Review

The Dragons laid the first brick in their path to rock & roll salvation all the way back in 1990. Now, after a decade-plus of tours, cocktails, and cigarettes, Gearhead is helping the Dragons show the world what San Diego has known since the beginning — the Dragons rock you right, and leave your head all wrong. Sin Salvation is punk rock singed with the heat of the California sun. While its high-octane sound is as blue collar as anything clawing its way out of the industrial Northeast, Sin is defined by the rousing, pleading, or alternately prowling and leering vocals of Mario Escovedo, which together with his band's rocking '50s breakdowns imbue the music with the feel of a city and state where cold weather never cools off the passion. While we've heard parts of these three-chord anthems before, Ken Mochikoshi Horne's numerous lead guitar cherry bombs are better than any recycled hook. Often — as in the single "Dirty Bomb" or its partner in crime, "Chosen One" — Escovedo's vocals and guitar will trade off with Horne's leads, leaving perfectly timed gaps over the propulsive bass and drums of Steve Rodriguez and Jarrod Lucas. The gaps are key — they give a sweaty, foot-tapping crowd the chance to wash that fire down with a swallow of cheap beer. Indeed — Sin Salvation was recorded at Hollywood's Clear Lake Audio in just three days, with no overdubs, and for once the old cliché of "wanting to get that live sound" rings true. The switchblade sharp ballad "Claire" and the updated '50s angst of "Tragedy" line up next to the spitting, four-on-the-floor rock of the title track and the sneering "Play for Keeps," giving Sin Salvation the tidy feel of a badass live set. By the end, chances are you'll be sweating from the California heat.


Formed: San Diego, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

So Cal punk & rollers the Dragons were fronted by Mario Escovedo, the youngest sibling of musicians Alejandro and Javier Escovedo. Javier, of L.A. punk legends the Zeros ( and later with Alejandro in the True Believers), bought his teenage kid brother his first guitar on Sunset Strip, paving the way for Mario's rock 'n' roll future. Mario and Ken Mochikoshi Horne had formerly been in a punk band called M-80's. Toward the end of 1990, the two decided to form a new band, recruiting bassist Steve...
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Sin Salvation, The Dragons
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