|Lita Ford - 'Time Capsule' (Steamhammer / SPV)|
|Written by Gaz Tidey|
|Monday, 28 March 2016 03:00|
You can hardly blame former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford for wanting to travel back in time to the eighties. While her career as a solo artist kick-started in 2009 after over fourteen years in the back catalogue bins, her personal life experienced the dramatic thrills and spills that should have been reserved for the stage. With ninth solo studio album, 'Time Capsule', however, Lita is washing the here and now right outta her big hair and harking back to a glorious time when excess got you on the cover of Hit Parader rather than the broadsheets.
Ford claims that this new throwback long player is a gift to fans who love the eighties, and that the bones of the record were dug up from a batch of long-forgotten 24-track analog tapes that contained some of the best work she'd ever done, yet remained unreleased. Utilising a little black book of rock star names to get the songs album-ready, Lita convinced the likes of Billy Sheehan, Gene Simmons, Bruce Kulick, Dave Navarro, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Jeff Scott Soto, and even her former husband, Chris Holmes, to guest on one of those rare products that is actually worthy of its title.
While some of those guests are hardly noticeable - a Simmons bass line here, a Navarro mandolin there - the core of the record features either Sheehan or Jimmy Tavis (Odin) on bass duties, Rodger Carter (Rick Springfield, Eddie Money) on the drum stool, with Lita herself handling the majority of vocals and guitar. The results vary, but the aim of making an eighties-style hard rock record is one that has been easily realised.
How you have negotiated the past three decades will determine just how you find the Chris Holmes-featuring album intro - it'll either have you laughing out loud, or wincing behind your fingers - but it makes way for an album opener proper that, yes, could have been a massive hit thirty years ago. Ford shares the vocals with Jeff Scott Soto on this, 'Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight', and it's a sucrose explosion that will have your hair and Reeboks pumped up for the remaining nine tracks; some of them terrific throwbacks that rarely dip into that horribly dated hair metal sound that many a modern cock rock-influenced European band fill album after album after melonfarming album with.
The retro sound that Ford started looking back to with 2012's 'Living Like A Runaway' suits her much better than the heavier strains of its predecessor, 2009's 'Wicked Winterland', but, bizarrely, there's more than a whiff of 1995's 'Black' record here; that pared-down release featuring the original versions of the first three tracks of this audio time capsule - the aforementioned 'Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight', the great 'Killing Kind', which now sounds like MTV-era Heart meets Def Leppard (complete with Cheap Trick-infused backing vocals), and the hook-saturated power ballad, 'War Of The Angels'. Not quite unreleased, then.....
'Black Leather Heart' and 'Rotten To The Core' will dazzle those with a penchant for pop metal of a bygone age, the latter especially infectious. It's just as well because the following instrumental one-two of Lita's stab at Jimi Hendrix's 'Little Wing' and 'On The Fast Track' will have you scurrying off for a comfort break as quickly as you would when faced with a drum/bass solo combination at an eighties rock concert.
The final three songs bring things back up to DeLorean speed, and without the need for a hot tub and a can of Chernobly either: 'King Of The Wild Wind' is a bluesier cut that sounds like it could have rested easily on 'Black' as it happens, 'Mr. Corruption' the only track here that sounds like it truly didn't make the cut for another project, final track, 'Anything For The Thrill', a retro rock rollicker that hits every mark required of a hair metal standard.
Sure, there's no 'Kiss Me Deadly' here, but that's not to say that there isn't enough on offer for fans who either discovered Lita Ford in the eighties or followed her career from Runaway to bona fide solo star to fall mullet over stiletto for. Okay, so Lita may be playin' with fire with claims that many of these songs are previously unreleased, but only the harshest critic will find fault with getting them released right here, right now, and wrapped up in artwork that smacks of decades-old hair metal.
'Time Capsule' is the perfect jumping-on point for music fans who thought Lita Ford disappeared when MTV stopped playing music and starting broadcasting fake reality shows.