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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Reviews: Van Halen

Van Halen: A Different Kind Of Truth (Interscope)

The first Van Halen album in 14 years and the first with the (almost) classic line up since 1984's 1984. Yes that's right folks 'Diamond Dave' is back in the fold and as boorish, sleazy and cheeky as ever. Yes Mike Anthony is missing and this shows in the vocal harmonies and in some of the rhythm however this doesn't matter as this is really Eddie's show and his son Wolfgang, his brother Alex and even Roth take a back seat to his influential guitar heroics. The album is classic Van Halen in more ways than one, there's no keys, no (real) ballads and no B.S. Starting with the stupidly catchy Tattoo you can already hear that the magic is still there as even though the track sounds almost exactly like Jamie's Cryin' and the pre-chorus is the best part the "Tattoo, Tattoo" refrain sticks in your head for days and days after. The links to classic tracks also show in the percussion led China Town (Hot For Teacher) and the propulsive and punchy Bullethead. DLR gives his classic vocal performance that's somewhere between dirty lounge singer and crazy ringmaster and Eddie shreds (oh boy does he shred!) with the best performance being on the excellent Stay Frosty which starts as an acoustic country song before a titanic riff kicks in that is followed by face melting solo from EVH. Yes some will say some of the songs are adapted ones that existed from before VH's first album and the record is about 3 tracks too long but it's awesome to hear Van Halen return with Dave after all of the faffing around that has led up to this point. Is it worth a 14 year (or longer if you're a DLR fan) wait? Yes. Will it set the world on fire and see Van Halen return to active duty? Maybe. Is it the best Van Halen album since 1984? Quite possibly. Is it better than the (14 year in the making) Chinese Democracy? Oh dear god yes! 9/10

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