Sound — 5
You know, given the balls-to-the-wall attitude of the Brides' debut album, "Here Come the Brides", I had high hopes for "Runaway Brides." I brought it home from the local HMV in sweet anticipation of another high-energy does of ass-kicking rock n' roll. What I recieved fell somewhat short of expectation. Having lost one the their key bandmates, Nikki Sixx, to the revived and reunited Motley Crue, the Brides have undergone a major change in sound. Now, change in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. But when the change results in something like this. The band has retained their edgy, rockstar attitude, but their actual sound has gone from crunchy, catchy riffs/vocals backed by a throbbing rhythym section to mucky, forgettable, and totally generic metal cliches. Mind you, the music isn't all bad. There are a few good moments on "Runaway Brides," and a few songs I can't complain about. But the band is sorely missing the songwriting skills of Nikki Sixx (as well as the ability to maliciously beat a bass guitar into submission) and it shows.
Lyrics — 6
Considering the nature of the recording, I'd say that the lyrics don't fall short of expectation. I'm not going to say that they're anything mindblowing, but the writing isn't terrible. There are a few good lines on this album, especially present in the thoughtful "Porcelain Queen," the tribute "Dimes In Heaven," and the cheesily amusing "Tunnel Of Love" (c'mon, don't tell me that London LeGrand's declaration "Gonna ride inside your tunnel of love" doesn't make you grin). Unfortunatly, it seems that LeGrand's vocal skills have deteriorated; although he never was an outstanding vocalist, he worked with what he had on the band's debut album and achieved an effective, surprisingly kick-ass result. In this case, however, his voice falls flat, and merely adds to the generic quality of the record.
Overall Impression — 5
Although I wouldn't call Runaway Brides a complete failure, it certainly isn't the best hard rock album I've heard. The problem is that it lacks the memorability or energy to make it a stand-out effort. The potential is there, if not in the songwriting, then in the phenomenal skills of guitarist Tracii Guns. Even in the darkest hour of the recording, a particularly well-crafted intro or riff gives us a glimpse of Guns' versatility as a guitarist. But its his guitar-wanking solos and the pure, punk-inspired energy of the band's original line-up that Runaway Brides does not have enough of, and until both aspects are revived, we're looking at the downfall of a band with a great deal of potential.