Danger Danger - 2001 Cockroach

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ARTIST: Danger Danger
ALBUM: Cockroach (2 on 1 reissue)
LABEL: Sony Music/Low Dice Records
SERIAL: A2 52159
YEAR: 2001

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Paul Laine - vocals (Disc 1) * Ted Poley - vocals (Disc 2) * Andy Timmons - guitars * Bruno Ravel - bass * Steve West - drums

TRACK LISTING: [DISC 1 - with Paul Laine] 01 Still Kickin' * 02 Sick Little Twisted Mind * 03 Good Time * 04 Don't Break My Heart Again * 05 Tip Of My Tongue * 06 Walk It Like You Talk It * 07 Goin' Goin' Gone * 08 Afraid Of Love * 09 When She's Good She's Good (When She's Bad She's Better) * 10 Shot O Love * 11 Don't Pull The Plug * 12 Time In A Bottle [DISC 2 - with Ted Poley] * 13 Still Kickin' * 14 When She's Good She's Good (When She's Bad She's Better) * 15 Shot O Love * 15 Shot O Love * 16 Afraid Of Love * 17 Tip Of My Tongue * 18 Walk It Like You Talk It * 19 Goin' Goin' Gone * 20 Good Time * 21 Don't Break My Heart Again * 22 Don't Pull The Plug * 23 Sick Little Twisted Mind

Background

'Cockroach' was supposed to be Danger Danger's third release on Epic Records in 1993, following 'Screw It.' in 1991. However, after recording was complete, the band fired lead singer Ted Poley, who subsequently sued the band.

While all that was going on, Paul Laine was brought in to re-record all the vocals. When they finally got the album ready for release, Epic decided to shelve it. Ravel and West formed their own label, Low Dice Records, and released three more D2 albums ('Dawn', 'Four The Hard Way', and 'The Return Of The Great Gildersleeves') in 1995, 1998, and 2000.

They reached a deal with Epic and Sony in 2001 to finally release 'Cockroach'. In a unique (and much-appreciated) move, both the original Ted Poley version and the re-recorded Paul Laine versions were released as a two-disc set.

The arrangements are the same, but the track order was tweaked. Six of the tracks had already appeared, in slightly different but essentially the same arrangements, on 'Four The Hard Way' (four), and 'The Return Of The Great Gildersleeves' (two).

The Songs

Keyboardist Kasey Smith had left the band during the recording of 'Screw It.', and with no formal replacement, the sound here has a lesser keyboard presence.

The band was moving towards a tougher sound anyway, which is evident on many of these tracks. While they sound less like what you'd find on their earlier releases and more like what many other bands were sounding like, they still had the D2 vibe that made the first two so enjoyable.

Some of these songs do sound like they could have come from 'Screw It.', but several others definitely represent a change in style. And some don't sound terribly distinct to D2. But I do find them all to range from good to damn good.

'Still Kickin' is a real rocker and definitely tougher than anything they'd done before. 'Sick Little Twisted Mind' is slower-paced and a cool song. 'Good Time' is a little closer to what we've heard before from D2. It has that good-time party vibe. 'Don't Break My Heart Again' is a slower song, one that might have been from 'Screw It.'.

'Tip Of My Tongue' is a typical cheeky D2 tune with lots of brassy keyboards (think 'Social Disease' by Bon Jovi or 'Tall Dark Handsome Stranger' by Heart). I absolutely love this tune. I could see it being one the singles that people remember when they think of Danger Danger.

'Walk It Like You Talk It' is a lot like 'Still Kickin'. 'Goin' Goin' Gone' is a great great song - I'm a sucker for the VI-IV-V-VI chord progression. 'Afraid Of Love' is the closest thing to a ballad, and another killer song. 'When She's Good She's Good (When She's Bad She's Better)' is another typical cheeky tune. 'Shot 'O Love' is another fun tune more similar to earlier work.

'Don't Pull The Plug' features a long (1:30) bluesy guitar intro courtesy of Andy Timmons. It leads into a fun party-rocker. This sounds like a Headpins tune to me, partly because of the guitar tone. 'Time In A Bottle' is only on the Laine disc. It of course the Jim Croce tune. It sounds fine, but I can't say it really adds anything to the album.

In Summary

It's a tough call between the two vocalists. They're both very effective with these songs. I guess I have a slight preference for Laine on the harder stuff, and I slightly prefer Poley on the softer and poppier tunes that sound more like the previous albums.

But I could listen to either disc and be totally satisfied; Laine was definitely a good choice to replace Poley. Six of the tunes were used on the following albums - 'Still Kickin'', 'Sick Little Twisted Mind', 'Goin' Goin' Gone', and 'Afraid Of Love' on 'Four The Hard Way', and 'Walk It Like You Talk It' and When She's Good She's Good on 'The Return Of The Great Gildersleeves'.

Those versions are all very similar except for 'Walk It Like You Talk It', which has been arranged somewhat differently (and improved, IMHO). Given the state of rock in 1993, I can't see how this album would have made a huge splash. It is interesting to think how it would have been received though.


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