ROXX – Outlaws, Fools & Thieves

ROXX - Outlaws, Fools & Thieves


Perris Records
Release date: 2004

User Review
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If a band’s claim to fame was that their singer worked with Skid Row until the Skids found Sebastian Bach, should they really use that as their claim to fame? The answer is a definite “probably.” Anyway, Roxx vocalist Joey D’Angeli might remind you of Bach in a few places, but has a sound all his own. Throw him into a band with good musicians and good pop metal songwriting, and you’ll get Outlaws, Fools & Thieves, an album that harkens back to the Bon Jovi days when music didn’t have a message, and we were better off for it.

For some reason, bands today insist on putting their worst foot forward on these type of releases. It’s like every band in this genre rewrites “Cherry Pie” or something even more inane, just to let us know what we are in for. Roxx does it too, with “What’s a Boy to Do?” Try this on for size: “It’s so true, but what’s a boy to do, ain’t got nothing left but to say that I love you.” What does that even mean? Anyway, if you nix the chorus, the song is upbeat, melodic, and sounds like one of Autograph’s better songs. Good melodies, dumb lyrics.

Luckily, Roxx doesn’t perpetuate the vacuous (to that extent) throughout the whole album. The second song, “Tell Me,” has a harder metal edge to it, somewhat like Skid Row mixed with Firehouse. Joey D’ has a strong, almost perfect hair metal voice. His delivery is natural, he has a good range, and he owns enough versatility to scream or croon at you.

Like Skid Row, the guitars play a prominent role in all of the songs. Franky Novello does a good Steve Perry rendition hear and there, especially on “Rockin’ Horse.” They miss with the chorus again, but overall, it’s a cool blues-edged rocker.

This kind of metal always did the keyboard-laced pop song well. “Give Up Your Heart,” is Roxx’s version. It sounds a bit like Trixter, especially when Joey D’ sings in a lower register, but this is where Roxx shines. You can imagine hearing this song on a summer night, sitting on the shores of a lake, boozing and trying not to fall into the bonfire. “Give Up Your Heart” should start a ruckus as big as “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Plus, instead of a guitar solo, you get a sax solo first. Damn good song.

“Pint of Blues” is one of their strongest songs. Looking at the album cover, a bunch of cotton-candy haired pretty boys, you really wouldn’t think this CD would have anything of substance. But you’ll get an old Aerosmith vibe on this one as well, and by now, you’ll start to realize this all the pieces are coming together for Roxx. They can do it all.

But to really “do it all,” then you’ll need the hair metal balled. “Shy Away,” is their attempt at this type of song, but instead of being a ridiculous parody of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” they do an impressive drum-bit during the chorus, not a constant beat but a drum roll, that draws you away from the keyboards, vocals and guitar. To tell the truth, not too many bands even bother “thinking outside the box” in this genre. Roxx does here.

They do a remix of “In the Groove” to end the CD, a weird stuttering, CD-skipping rendition of a song they played three tracks earlier. Why? Don’t know. Stick with the original.

It sounds cliche when you read things like Outlaws, Fools & Thieves won’t win any awards for originality (which they won’t), but that Roxx put together a damn good glam rock CD that should be heard anyway (which they did). “New” doesn’t automatically equal “good”, anyway. In a genre that was pilloried in the past for its irrelevance, it’s nice to see fun, rockin’ metal making a comeback, even if it has been a decade in waiting.

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