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Album Review

Based on the album title and the "hello, sailor!" album cover, Hydrogyn know exactly what their selling point is: hot'n'fancy (albeit slightly hoarse'n'scratchy) singer Julie Westlake. (One could also point out, somewhat bitchily, that clearly the band name was chosen in tribute to hydrogen peroxide, clearly how Westlake's hair got that particular shade of dirty blonde.) A throwback to the mid-'80s heyday of candy-coated pop-metal — the band even roped in Scorpions producer Michael Wagener for authenticity's sake — Bombshell delivers on all the important elements of the style. The guitars are loud but impeccably produced. The rhythm section is mixed so that all that's audible is the reverbed snare and the ride cymbal. Hyper-dramatic power ballad? You betcha, track four, "Breaking Me Down." Blatant Led Zeppelin ripoff? Same song, when lead guitarist Jeff Westlake keeps threatening to break into "Kashmir." Original ideas? Sorry, look someplace else. On the other hand, Bombshell is one of those albums that has a very particular set of artistic criteria, and it fulfills them all; on that level, it's hard not to admire it. Vixen and "These Dreams"-era Heart fans especially should check it out.

Bombshell, Hydrogyn
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