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Fashion by Hanoi Rocks

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Reviewed on 29th July 2007.



By Hanoi Rocks

The last time I heard anyone mention Hanoi Rocks it was in a Pitchfork Media roundup of the best records of 2006. It was somewhat of a surprise to see they'd actually reformed. Then again it wasn't that much of a shock, eighties bands were resurfacing so regularly it was beginning to look like some kind of cheap Zombie flick (but with worse make-up). Luomo's notes on his inclusion of their greatest hits collection were as follows: "Hmm... I guess I'm homesick or something. Old Finnish Glam Rock. Have no explanation for this." His apologetic words were a perfect summation of their unfashionable status, but then, he had also chosen not to exclude them entirely.

In their first incarnation, Hanoi Rocks resided somewhere in the lipstick trail between prototype Glam-punks The New York Dolls and the bands that would eventually make a commercial killing (like Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses). They were a fantastic mix of the beautiful and the damned. Now only two of their original line-up remain; singer Michael Monroe and guitarist Andy McCoy. (Here's a fact that has some kind of glorious logic to it - original guitarist Nasty Suicide now works as a pharmacist.)

Unfortunately after hearing this tired comeback single I'm beginning to understand why fellow reformers like The Pixies have been so reluctant to release any new material. There's an uncomfortable weight of expectation and in comparison this is as dull and lifeless as unconditioned hair. Monroe and McCoy have lost the vigour, the shimmer, the allure. At least 'Fashion' is just uninspired and forgettable, b-side 'Trouble Boys' is a musical atrocity so bad it suggests that for Hanoi Rocks the shark can't even be seen in the rear-view mirror.

Sometimes even the act of recollection seems to cloud once rosy memories. Sometimes they're not quite what you thought they were. As Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes once said, "And don't say that I have changed, 'cause man of course I have." Do their old records still stand up like I remember? A part of me is scared to find out.



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