Vanity Blvd: Wicked Temptation

More ruff than smooth.

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Rock’N’Roll Overdose, the 2008 debut album from Swedish glamfreaks Vanity Blvd, was so slickly produced it made Def Leppard’s Hysteria sound like a duff garage bash-along. But things have changed for follow-up Wicked Temptation.

With only singer Anna Savage and guitarist Traci Trexx remaining from the R’N’RO roster, the band have adopted a grittier approach and consigned the hairspray canisters to the dumpster.

This benefits the ears as well as the ozone layer. Tracks such as Hot Teaser and Do Or Die crackle with attitude and abandon, Ms Savage leading the way with her seething vocal delivery. (No wonder she’s not using the forename of Cindi anymore.) Standout song Had Enough begins gently and mournfully before exploding into maelstrom of police sirens and all manner of madness. Elsewhere, Savage’s smouldering spoken intro to Miss Dangerous (“Mmmh… are you ready?”) will have you replying in a breathless affirmative, and Thrills In The Night has Trexx slammin’ his six-string like a whirling-dervish CC DeVille.

It’s interesting to note that both Soulshaker and Dirty Rat are old songs, the former appearing on 2006 demo Playin’ It Ruff. Which is exactly what Vanity Blvd are doing once again, eight years later.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.