tue 25/06/2019

CD: Def Leppard - Def Leppard | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Def Leppard - Def Leppard

CD: Def Leppard - Def Leppard

The Sheffield soft rockers are back - just be careful which songs you download

Def Leppard: 'Magpie tendencies'

In 1987 Def Leppard released Hysteria, a high-water mark in the history of soft rock. Not only was it gloriously infectious but there was also a moving backstory. To recap: the band’s drummer, Rick Allen, lost an arm in a road accident during recording. The group’s response was to help Allen build a custom, digital drum kit and carry on. This new set-up forced them all to tighten their focus, and the result combined technical excellence, good taste and real passion. Sadly, it was arguably the last really decent record they ever made.  

Def Leppard attempts to recapture those glory days. The record’s opening riff, for instance, is a dead ringer for “Pour Some Sugar on Me”. But it's not just their own nostalgia they're mining. Singer Joe Elliott describes the range of musical styles on offer as being a bit like Queen. Its more than just a bit. The layered vocal and guitar parts on Lets Go ought to have “Property of Brian May” stamped on them. Then there’s the bass motif for “Man Enough”, virtually “Another One Bites the Dust” note for note. Still, for all their magpie tendencies, the first three tracks are pretty good fun.

The good stuff, though, doesn’t last. Things start going wrong with “We Belong”, possibly one of the wettest songs ever recorded. “Energized” is almost as awful. And interspersed with these dire slow movers are various numbers that owe more to the Snow Patrol/ Stereophonics school of bland rock than their own back catalogue. Still, the second part of the LP isnt all dismal. Occasionally real rockers like “Sea of Love” or “All Time High” pop up. The problem is consistency. Its as if the the band have forgotten how to be creatively disciplined. They say Def Leppard is the album they wanted to make. But in the end, the album's sense of indulgance makes it more miss than hit.

 

Overleaf: Def Leppard's video for "Let's Go"

 

The layered vocal and guitar parts ought to have 'Property of Brian May' stamped on them

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Average: 2 (1 vote)

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