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Party Animals (Abacus/Burning Heart)

Near-deified stalwarts of the European rock scene since the mid-'90s, Norway's Turbonegro has had a tougher go of it in the States. Besides the fact that expert glam metal is completely excluded from U.S. airwaves, Turbo's particular brand of leather-clad, NAMBLA-positive mock rock is often lost on prudish American rock fans.

But Party Animals sees Turbonegro still standing, albeit wobbly-kneed, as clown princes of party-hearty darkness. Hard rockers like "Blow Me (Like the Wind)" and "Hot Stuff/Hot Shit" are solid fist-pumpers. And even when these tunes come off like Ratt demos ("Stay Free," "City of Satan"), they get salvaged by silly epic strings, horns, or the unending stream of lyrical missives that sound like ABBA gone blue: "My body is a temple, and tonight I gonna tear it down."

Granted, it's hard to accuse Turbonegro of self-parody, when parody has always been its shtick. But on Party Animals, similar tempos, an inability to keep the scatological angle fresh, and rip-offs of their own riffs (rather than the usual Dictators/Queen/Ramones meldings) spell burnout for this bunch. Hence, listening to Animals feels like waving goodbye to a departing party cruise ship, beer cans washing up around your stomping feet.

More by Eric Davidson


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