I'm not a big fan of supergroups; throwing a bunch of celebrities in a room usually results in extreme hype and ambiguous substance. Half-formulated or compromising in studio = lacklustre songs. Such is not necessarily the case with latest addition Casablanca, featuring Alice Cooper's guitarist Ryan Roxie, Erik Stenemo from Melody Club, Swedish football star Mat Rubarth, Josephine Forsman from Sahara Hotnights on drums, and Anders Ljung from Space Age Baby Jane on vocals. It's the kinda Guns'n'Roses-cum-Journey revival Swedes adore, thrown in a typical 80's epic love battle between hair product and tight jeans brand. The album art directly mimics The Warriors, in that New York 80's spray-painted "Apocalyptic Youth" type. The music's less raw then Alice Cooper or Thin Lizzy that's for sure, and a bit more predictable like Whitesnake or Rod Stewart. If you're into that sort of thing, it'll probably get yr head nodding. The title track's got a formulaic radio rock feel, while fast-paced next track and sugary chorus-friendly "Downtown" echoes a path the Hotnights were once on. The album's production hums big, fat and Eighties, and Josephine's solid, tasteful rock drumming shines brightly, serving as a strong backbone. They definitely show some experienced songwriting; "The juggler" is a smart, feel-good tune. But in general, the cheesy bandana-riffing and melodramatically sung verses such as on "Love and desperation" are a bit overly harry for me. I mean it kicks off with, "HUSH, NOW, THUNDERCHILD", and by track 9, "Last of the Rockstars", I'm experiencing déjà vu. Get the picture? But hey, I ain't gunna rag on something some people, especially in the backwoods country, might clearly enjoy.
- Ann Sung-an Lee