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Danny Frye & the Devildolls 

Hellbent (Lucky 13)

Don't get used to seeing singer-guitarist Danny Frye around Cleveland much longer. With Hellbent, his world-class full-length debut, Frye and the Devildolls are on a full-bore punkabilly pace to bring their new, millennial greaser rock to the world at large. Frye learned his lean and muscular guitar skills, and sharpened his sense of rock's visceral power, at the feet of a master, as the lead guitarist for ex-New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain. Frye has taken those lessons and applied them liberally to his own multigenerational ideas, winding up with a high-octane soundtrack that's equal parts Reverend Horton Heat, Santo & Johnny, and Social Distortion. Hellbent's also got dashes of the Ramones and Gene Vincent thrown in for spot color.

Frye's vocals can slide from doo-wop silk to punk-rock gravel in the space of a chord change, and the Devildolls have no trouble keeping pace with his genre shapeshifts, as they match his ability to blend '50s flash and '90s fury in a cross-pollinated rock-and-roll hybrid that shreds and seduces without a hint of retro evangelism. Veering madly from the blistering punk intensity of "Blue Eyed Angel" and "Pill Poppin' Super Villain" to the gentle, Elvis-like beauty of "Heartless" and a thrashing cover of the Jags' new-wave pop hit "Back of My Hand," Frye and the Devildolls cover the musical waterfront with tattooed authority. Since the recording of Hellbent, Frye has augmented the Devildolls with the addition of ex-Yo-Yo's guitarists Neil Phillips and Tom Spencer, making the band even more potent as a triple-guitar assault vehicle.

More by Brian Baker

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