Hair of the Dog

It's been a long time since I heard rock with this kind of attitude. Drawing inspiration from the days of early Van Halen, Aerosmith, and KISS, Hair of the Dog has created Rise, an album that fits in perfectly with these classic albums. This is no-frills, blue collar, good time party music and that's all it intends to be. Simple, straightforward and effective. These guys are not posturing to become the next darlings of generation X or Y or Z. They only want to rock and rock hard.

The title track opens the album and it's an incredible scorcher full of power chords and riffs that are guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping. "Five To Nine" continues this great surge of energy in an anthem to the hours after work. For a breather, the boys throw in "You Are the One", an old fashioned power-ballad before switching to "Mokur Jahoobees", a song that combines Aerosmith swank with Van Halen's "Beautiful Girls". Lyrically, these songs don't stray far from the universal rock themes of drinking, partying, and sex (what did you think Jahoobees where, anyway) but again, after over a decade of "complaint rock" bands, it's kind of refreshing to hear such energetic, crunchy rock anthems. With two guitars (Les Pauls cranked through Marshall stacks, of course), bass and drums, the music is upbeat, aggressive, and intended to be listened to loud.

Hair of the Dog does more than just imitate bands like Van Halen, AC/DC and KISS (make that a double dose of KISS with a southern rock chaser). They have managed to capture the spirit of these early classic bands and matched it with solid songwriting. These basic good-time rock songs are as heavy on melody as they are in attitude. I'm not sure if the time is right for a band like this, if the public is ready to return to music this fun and carefree, but if they do, it will be bands like Hair of the Dog that lead the way.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, May 2000.