MP3 Brian O´Blivion - The Flash Before The Crash
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13 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Punk, ROCK: Classic Rock
Brian OâBlivion â The Flash Before The Crash â Oh, what a sight. On the day the Trash Brats broke up strippers all over the USA shaved their heads and joined nunneries, gentlemen rocker dudes hung up their poky-dot shirts & platform boots anâ checked themselves into the nearest rehab and the world was a little safer to live in for the rest of America. So to say that it was a sad day would be a crass understatement. Well, rejoice scumbags! Because TB singer Brian OâBlivion is back and, boy, is he ready to rock you! If you were hoping for punky hard rock anthems with all those memorable hooks aplenty and a big payoff sing-a-long chorus that made the Brats such a fave for over a decadent decade you will not be disappointed. I always thought the Brats, at their best, sounded like a punked up Cheap Trick and Iâm sure Iâm not alone in that thought. Balloon Animals, Monster Flicks and Prettier Farther Away all hit me that same way. While Brianâs earlier solo recording had been wildly eclectic and this record pretty much continues along a more rockinâly focused path. Toss in some old Coop, maybe a little Dickies or Social D and there are a few little surprise left turns. Am I going dog-shit bonkers or do I detect a wee bit of a Frankie Laine twang vibe on the tune, Chantelle, which is probably my favorite on the disc? The take of, Merle Haggardâs, Silver Wings is pure heartache and would fit nicely on a Hangmenâs album. And the pedal-steel country honk of Bar Room Angel is straight up Gram Parsons-era Stones. One touch I really like are the twin harmony lead guitars which kick in on a few of the tunes, the best of which, the tuff Suicide Saloon, seriously conjures up the ghost of Thin Lizzy. Sweet! I still miss those Trash Brats but this goes a long way to easing that cold emptiness. (October 32nd Records)
The Flash Before the Crash
It's gotta be a rough gig, being rock'n'roll's best-kept secret, Brian O. For sixteen years, he rode high as the daring ringmaster for Detroit's much beloved glam sensations, Trash Brats. Over the years, they shared marquees, spotlights, and greasepaint with Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, Johnny Thunders, Sylvain Sylvain, Junk Monkeys, Goo Goo Dolls, L.A. Guns, and even Kid Rock. Unfortunately, they never got the record company promotion essential to crossing-over to radio or MTV. Trash Brat's signature, MottThe Hoople-meets Ramones-influenced, pop/punk sound, and laddish, traveling block party 'elan fuelled summa the most memorable rock spectacles this friendly ghost has ever seen.
Swashbuckling Motown bar-star, Brian O'Blivion, always reminded me of some riverboat gambler, or a vaudevillian carnival huckster. It's like he's part transvestite card sharp of the old west, and part Mark Twain, front porch swing, social commentator. A real gallant rock'n'roll gent-always
gracious, and unruffable. Onstage, he transforms into this live wire, Rocky Horror mutation, to rival Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Wayne County, or David Johansen, in their prime. While the Brats were never able to give up their day-jobs, the Top 40 is teeming with tattooed millionaire, pop/punk, corporate ringers, who've high-jacked the whole polka-dotted bandwagon his
internationally-ignored band of merry men rode in on. The Trash Brats, along with (the purple haired) Zeroes, Redd Kross, and Celebrity Skin, helped pioneer the entire glamour punk sub-culture, and thriving musical genre. Today's teens are mostly 'oblivious' to their indisputable contributions, and seemingly ubiquitous influence on the now mainstreamed,
Hot Topic rock-scene.
This works against the swanky forerunner, O'Blivion, because whenever he sounds most unself-conciously like himself, he also ends up sounding a bit like his soporific, greasy kid, imitators, you're sick to death of from the radio. Undaunted, our dandyish maverick resolutely continues to blaze
trails into boundary-erasing musical terrains, that flagrantly defy two-adjective categorization. While his earlier solo-forays were well-received by his devoted coterie of long-time admirers, they were too much of a stylistic-potpourri to be easily digested by lowest common denominator 'rawk' audiences. Sensing this disconnect, O'Blivion briefly
endeavored to please the chainwalleted, unbreakable comb set with a cuppla blunt grudge-rockers, in recent years. Some cynical old spectators saw those tunes as weary concessions to all the young dudes, but try as he might, 'dumb' was never Brian's forte'.
"The Flash Before The Crash", his third ingenuous solo venture, is a surprisingly consistent- sounding bunch of noteworthy songs, that draws from a vast array of musical influences, while continuing to hone the brassy Americana that's been his hallmark in recent years. Brian's got a
remarkable aptitude for writing vivid, introspective, and imagery-rich songs that showcase his own eclectic musical preferences-from high 'n' lonesome Hank, to Dictator's slap-stick. This particular outing finds the dapper ole trickster approaching middle-age, and taking a moment to reflect
on his checkered past. He does a lovely rendition of Cranford Nix Jr.'s "Bar Room Angel" in tribute to his departed drinking buddy, late of the Malakas. "Roy & Billie", ("The only ones who know how I feel are Roy Orbison and Billie Holiday") his sour mash-note to lost youth, lost friends, and dashed hopes, is appropriately reminiscent of the Trash Brat's more sentimental bubble gum ballads, like "What Plays Your Mind", from their "American Disaster" magnum opus.
"Monster Flicks" is another hit that would have been ideally-suited to the full-blast Brat's treatment. While one sometimes misses the starry presence of his irreplacable cohorts, Rat (Kevin K. Band), Romeo (Easy Action), and Cashew (Big City Blackout), especially on ravers like, "One On The Gas & One In The Grave", his current collaborators, Jason Pearce, Sean
Bondareft, and producer Tim Pak, are all handy co-conspirators. With their assistance, O'Blivion has been able to really focus on his song-craft, and evolve as a vocalist, resulting in this, his finest solo record to date, gloriously unaffected by the fads of the day. "Suicide Saloon", "Freeway
Valentine", "Xmas Angel", "Chantelle", and "Today I Feel Old", are all mention-worthy highlights. The shiney disc basically spills over with winning songs, and finds the former Trash Brat, and part-time Salt-Miner, making confident strides into rock'n'roll adulthood with renewed vigor, and characteristic savoir-fair.
Lifeling flash-metal enthusiasts will likely, always root for a reunion of his old band, and especially, their frenzied, and unparalleled, live performances, but "The Flash Before The Crash" is a testament to the shatter-proof songster's stamina, true grit, sweet nature, good humour, and straight-up soulfull-ness. Widely renowned, even in the highest echelons of
real rock'n'roll, for his flamboyant showmanship, and debonair stylishness, stepping away from his flagship operation has freed him up to concentrate on perfecting his own keenly observational voice as a songsmith.
The lyrics, while melancholy and bittersweet in some places, never stray into jealousy, self-pity, or mean spiritedness, and more often than not, are funny, insightful, wise, and uplifting. This is why Brian's esteemed by many as a bona-fide rock'n'roll hero-even in this greedy age of ruthless
competition, and winning is everything profiteering. He never succumbs to any of that ugly, uptight, back-stabbing,
rat-race nonesense. He's genuinely more interested in the noble work of composing, and recording, timeless, new songs, than in chasing the fickle butterfly of fame, or in defining success by the number of units-shifted, or dollars pocketed. A born entertainer, a true bohemian, bon vivant, one
of a kind.
After all the years the Brats spent in the filthy trenches of
rock'n'roll's underbelley, theirdashing leader remains a shining example of a truly independent, sovereign, outsider, living by his own code. Succeeding by his own terms. O'Blivion's
secret for staying so young at heart is that he courageously keeps evolving. Refusing to squander his precious time wringing his hands about what maybe should've been, he insists on surging optimistically into what is still to come. All this has been achieved with his original ideals, integrity, intentions, heart and soul intact. "Flash Before The Crash" is a
triumph for unsung heroes and complete unknowns everywhere. Why not acquire a copy for your own collection? On the Sinisters label outta Canada.
- Pepsi Sheen
in partnership with CDbaby (ID 902114)
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