Neurotic Outsiders – Neurotic Outsiders (1996)

neuroticoutsiders_14 out of 5 Stars!

When I learned in 1995 that Steve Jones (Sex Pistols/Chequered Past), Duff McKagan (Guns ‘N’ Roses), and Matt Sorum (The Cult/Guns ‘N’ Roses) had formed a new “supergroup” with John Taylor (Duran Duran/The Power Station), I had high expectations, even though I was mostly unfamiliar with John Taylor, and never a fan of either of his groups. Since I was a fan of the other musicians and their bands, however, those high expectations remained, and for the most part, the band’s debut album did not disappoint.

Loaded with loud, driving, and rebellious Hard Rock liberally crossing into Punk territory, yet with some lighter, melodic ingredients that actually reminded me of David Bowie’s Ziggy-era material (more on that later), the album simply slams nearly as thunderously as the Sex Pistols’ lone album—just listen to the single “Jerk” and you’ll see what I mean. Other Pistols-like tracks such as “Always Wrong,” “Nasty Ho,” “Good News,” “Six Feet Under,” and “Revolution” also barrel through the speakers with as much Punk nastiness as could be expected from a line-up featuring Steve Jones. The only difference from the Sex Pistols is that the vocals on this album (not the best, but at least passable) are actually “sung” and not “spat” in the tradition of the legendary Johnny Rotten (who is, by the way, actually mentioned within the lyrics of the song “Union,” along with other Sex Pistols members, including Steve Jones himself.). I also must mention the catchy song “Angelina,” where the sing-along choruses showed an almost “poppy” side to the band and made for another decent single.

Of the lighter tracks, the Bowie influence on “Better Way” brings to mind the classic track “Rock and Roll Suicide,” not only when it comes to the chord patterns in the verses, but the lead vocals, which sound similar to Bowie’s when he sang in the lower registers. Truth be told, however, several other lighter moments of this album (specifically the tracks “Union” and “Story of My Life”) are the weakest points of this collection for me, despite the occasional Bowie influences. I much prefer the brash, head-banging tracks that make up the majority of the album, where thankfully the ghost of the Sex Pistols seems to be the chief overall component, and I typically find myself cranking the stereo to “10,” reveling in the fullness of the guitars, the rambunctious bass and drums, and the rich and well-rounded production.

Sadly, this promising group never lasted long enough to produce another full-length studio album, only a short EP (Angelina) the following year, which also features the same catchy album track mentioned above, a version of “Jerk” with “clean” lyrics, along with a trio of new tunes. Regardless, this album was a fun discovery for me and made me yearn for more.

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