If you are familiar with the name Ryan Roxie, then you probably fall into one of two categories. Category one, you are familiar with his involvement as a guitarist with the likes of Slash’s Snakepit, or more prominently, spending a decade between the years 1996 and 2006 and now once again in 2012 as guitarist with Alice Cooper. Category two, which is the one I fall into, is that you worship at the altar Roxie’s knack for delivering some kick ass glam infused rock, dating right back to the late 80’s with Electric Angels, the cheekily titled Dad’s Porno Mag in the 90’s, through to the 2000’s with his own Roxie 77, and now you can add Casablanca to the list. Relocating himself to Stockholm, Sweden, the last bunch of years, it was obviously inevitable that Roxie would find himself involved in a band such as Casablanca and what an intriguing band at, which is made up of Josephine Forsman (Sahara Hotnights), bass player Mats Rubarth (Swedish national team football star), guitarist Erik Stenemo (Melody Club) and front man Anders Ljung (Space Age Baby Jane) on vocals.
So enough of the introductions, what’s important is that this album is good, like seriously good. Having first been aware of this band a couple of years ago, probably when the lead track Downtown was doing the rounds, it’s hard to believe that finally I’ve got this disc in my hands as this day almost felt like it was never going to come. It’s kind of a tricky proposition to try and describe exactly the sound of Casablanca. For those familiar with Roxie’s past work mentioned in category 2 above, then imagine a cocktail of each of those and you’ll get really close. For those who didn’t fall into category 2 and have no idea what those bands sound like, then I can say that Casablanca is a wonderfully upbeat, catchy concoction of 70’s glam infused rock that is bound to bring a smile to your face and have you even cranking out some air guitar, air drums, or maybe some air lead singer posturing and gesturing.
From infectious guitar lead breaks that immediately hook you in such as the opening and title track Apocalyptic Youth, through to addictive rockers like Deliberately Wasted, Love and Desperation (refer video below) and Secret Agents Of Lust that smack you right between the eyes in an instant, with massive chorus’s. Speaking of massive choruses, the Swedish master of them, Chris Laney, features as producer on this album and the sound offers just a nice hint of rawness to give it a slight live feel. Elsewhere, tracks like Rich Girl and Beasts Of Summer may not rock quite as hard as some of their counterparts, but rest assured, they are no less addictive, then you have the bubbling Thin Lizzy’esque bass line of The Juggler to completely reel you in. Do I have a favourite song, yes of course I do….every single one of them, that’s no lie, just the truth!
This album may only clock in at 35 minutes, but seriously every time I listen to it, (and that’s been a lot), there’s always something new to be discovered, both lyrically and musically. It’s just one of those albums that’s so god damn enjoyable, no matter when, where, or how I listen to it!
For fans of: 70’s glam infused rock and Ryan Roxie
Release date: 16 March 2012
Record label: Rocket Songs/Sound Pollution