"If It Ain't Broke, Break It" (Metal Blade; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Starwood come from the same mold as The Darkness and Velvet Revolver. They're retro hard rock with tons of hooks, crunchy guitars and irresistibly written songs. 

Interestingly, my thoughts on the new Starwood CD are very close to my review of Velvet Revolver's self-titled CD. I like "If It Ain't Broke, Break It" just fine. It's a perfect update on the classic Hollywood glam sound. However, with a few exceptions, the CD just misses being great. it comes close, but it never quite gets there.

Like Velvet Revolver, "If It Ain't Broke..." is at its best when it's rocking hardest. The first track, "Subculture" is a strong rocker that delivers the goods, as do "Social Zero" and "Bad Machine." But songs like the title track and the just plain silly "All My Girlfriends Have Boyfriends" just don't have the oomph to overpower their inherent cheesiness. 

Still, I hate to damn with faint praise. Starwood's CD is, overall, more enjoyable than Velvet Revolver's because it's peppier throughout and never falls into the oh-so-overdone ballad territory. And the music on "If It Ain't Broke..." will sound great live. The tracks herein are just made for it.

I hope this current wave of new retro bands continues for awhile because I'm convinced some great music will come out of it. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe I'm too impatient. That being said, I eagerly await what Starwood comes up with in the future and I won't be disappointed if "If It Ain't Broke, Break It" is a big hit for the band, either. 

Starwood: Lizzy - lead and backing vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar; Joey Scott - drums and percussion, backing vocals; Marten Andersson - bass, backing vocals; Joe Steals - lead, rhythm and slide guitars, gacking vocals. Special guest: Geoff Downes - piano, organ.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.