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Rock E. Rollins
THE POST-MODERN ADVENTURES OF 21ST CENTURY ROCK íN íROLL BOY
(SWEETBREAD)

You canít really blame Sal Baglio for making his solo debut under a pseudonym, since local rock history hasnít been too kind to his long-time band, the Stompers. Their old-wave, Springsteen-influenced sound kept them decidedly unfashionable for a good two decades, even with a pair of solid singles, "Never Tell an Angel" and "One Heart for Sale," to their credit. But the shocker is that Baglio has discovered power pop and glitter rock after all these years, and this disc is a purely fun gesture.

Joined by a couple of other local veterans (ex-Pastiche bassist Brad Hallen and drummer/producer Ducky Carlisle), he keeps things stripped-down and guitar-centered, with no Bruce-isms whatsoever. The singer/guitarist sounds a good deal younger than he is, and Carlisleís live-sounding production is so retro that itís positively up-to-date. Baglio also sounds newly jaded by the music business, which doesnít hurt his writing a bit: if he were still aiming for hits, the Mott the Hoople-ish title song would be more sympathetic to its main character (and wouldnít include the F-word in the chorus). Likewise, the opening "Big Noise" rails lyrically against the disposable nature of pop music, even while the songís big hook celebrates it. And "Letís Rock íní Roll" proves that rehashing a million other rock anthems can be a blast. Baglio throws a slight monkey wrench into the albumís snotty-fun mood with a pair of epic ballads, but there heís saved by the tunesmithís instincts heís been carrying around all these years.

By Brett Milano


Issue Date: December 31, 2004 - January 6, 2005
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