American Amadeus played by John Diva and The Rockets of Love
A Tom Dixon Review
Good time rockers John Diva and the Rockets of Love are back to put the fun into funky and prove that the last album (Mama Said Rock ’N’ Roll Is Dead) wasn’t a fluke or a one-off. The latest release, American Amadeus, has the same fun injected into the 80s flavoured rock, but also show that they can write quality, memorable songs and actually improve on that solid debut.
JD adds glam to the rock too and, despite the inevitable Van Halen, Mötley Crüe or Def Leppard comparisons, they very much have their own identity…I can even hear the odd hint of Sabbath and an undercurrent of late 60s British rock.
Anyway, the highlights start straightaway with the excellently titled Voodoo, Sex and Vampires: yes, it does have bite, magic and errr, bumping bits all wrapped in well structured slice of proper rock and (if you want to) a chorus to sing along with…and smile, especially when you hear the banjo and bottleneck.
The title track plays cleverly with melodies and is another irresistible 80s rocker that BJ would love to write but seems to have lost the muse. Soldier of Love isn’t the ballad…not yet; it’s another track for BJ to envy and has a tasty, bendy guitar solo too.
Bling, Bling Marilyn keeps the pace and quality high with Mr Elliott going green this time. Next up is one song that embodies all of the 80s tropes in one genuine celebration…Champagne on Mars sounds like The Who at first, but it is still all Diva as the corks, metaphorically, pop.
Weekend For A Lifetime is, to me and it’s a compliment, like Poison heavied up…plus a short twin guitar ‘solo’; what’s not to love? Now for the ballad but with the un-ballad title Karmageddon: clever title if you think about it, and the song doesn’t disappoint. Lighters at the ready for a Coverdale style song with a heavier central section with some nice guitar.
Wasted (In Babylon) is hedonistic, bombastic and I think it is actually a social commentary rather than trying to “party on until we die”. Movin’ Back To Paradise is still 80s but it has a pop/rock feel that has me thinking of Tears For Fears with a rock band behind them…can’t decide on this one yet, even if the chorus is damnably catchy.
Drip, Drip Baby is back to power and a Leppard like formula..great fun though with a rhythm that gets you and some imaginative guitar throughout. This Is Rock ’n’ Roll is a bit Kiss-like (when they ruined God Gave…) but Diva does lift it with chorus lighter ready chorus.
The final track, Hearts, unexpectedly chucks in an acoustic intro and either a lap steel guitar or clever slide for an effective ballad that works very well indeed.
As I said, the first thing with John Diva is fun and, if you like the 80s sound then you will adore this record. Every song has strengths and the ballads are carefully placed and brilliantly performed. I’m not exaggerating when I say that some bands of that era should look to their laurels and worry.
Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – A Wonderful, nostalgic but fresh 80s sounding rock record delivered with power, passion and a smile.
1. Voodoo, Sex & Vampires
2. American Amadeus
3. Soldier Of Love
4. Bling Bling Marilyn
5. Champagne On Mars
6. Weekend For A Lifetime
8. Wasted (In Babylon)
9. Movin‘ Back To Paradise
10. Drip Drip Baby
11. This Is Rock’n’Roll
John Diva – vocals
Snake Rocket – guitars
J.J. Love – guitars
Remmie Martin – bass
Lee Stingray jr. – drums
(iTunes fed me some Sunday Blues with great bass and slide guitar courtesy of John Hammond and the Screaming Nighthawks…on a Sunday too! But it made me smile not blue with brilliant slide runs and expressionism.)