Album of the Week 16-2012: Sleeze Beez – Insanity Beach

Somewhat on a Dutch music high these last few weeks, I turned to the Sleeze Beez once again. To those who aren’t familiar with their work, their band name is cheesier than the actual music. After singer Andrew Elt joined the band, their second album ‘Screwed, Blued And Tattooed’ was a brilliant slab of Hard Rock and even contained a Japanese mega hit in the shape of ‘Stranger Than Paradise’. The album I want to talk about, however, is their fourth, ‘Insanity Beach’. And why? Simply because it’s the best album the Sleeze Beez have released – with the only possible rival being ‘Live In Tokyo’, recorded on the album’s tour.

Although ‘Insanity Beach’ features the trusted Sleeze Beez formula, the Beez seem to have taken a slightly more experimental road on this album, accounting for a bigger amount of listening pleasure. It’s not like the Beez suddenly turn into a Prog band, it’s still Rock ‘n’ Roll, just slightly more interestingly structured. The tension build-up in ‘Save Myself’ makes the song my favorite Beez-song, the spoken parts in ‘Gun Culture’ took some getting used to, but make it a truly powerful and unique song and the slower, creeping ‘D.U.I. (Intoxicated)’ and ‘Hate Rock And Roll’ (did anyone say ‘Kashmir’?) are welcome variations in the tempo department. Rest assured though, closing track ‘Scream’ revives the party atmosphere of most of ‘Screwed, Blued And Tattooed’.

Most Rock ‘n’ Roll bands can rock. However, it takes a brilliant singer to lift the actual music to a higher level. Andrew Elt is such a singer. I heard he’s fronting a Led Zeppelin coverband these days and he does have a Robert Plant-ish touch to his vocals (and his appearance), although Elt fits the eighties Glam Metal idiom a little more. The guys backing him are more than adequate though. Jan Koster is a true power hitter and Ed Jongsma delivers bass lines just slightly more interesting than the standard Rock bassist. And I don’t know who plays which solo, but Chriz van Jaarsveld and Don van Spall are both awesome guitarists. Check out those in ‘The Long Goodbye’ and ‘Sacrifice’ for great examples.

But what’s most important are the actual songs. And as you may have understood from the ones mentioned above, there’s no need to complain there. Actually, that’s where the band name may be a bit misleading. The music heard on ‘Insanity Beach’ is classy seventies Hardrock with a touch of eighties L.A. Glam Metal, but the influence of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith is much more apparent than, for instance, Mötley Crüe or Ratt. I’d take ‘Save Myself’ over ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ any day.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is this: get over the somewhat misleading band name or even if you like it sleazy, give this band a chance. Let’s just rephrase the chorus to one of the songs: if you like Rock ‘n’ Roll, I know you’re gonna like this.

Recommended tracks: ‘Save Myself’, ‘D.U.I. (Intoxicated)’, ‘Tell It To The Judge’

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