Spitfire Records, 1999

http://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Westworld_(British_band)

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Even on paper, Westworld seems like it would be a risky proposition. Take members from hard rock bands who one tasted greatness and add a drummer who could well be one of the fastest rising stars on the scene, and make a new band.

Such a combination could have been as lethal as nitroglycerine. Instead, the self-titled release from Westworld takes the best portions of each musician and creates a whole new sound that is as catchy as it is pleasant. These four guys might not be willing to quit their day jobs, but they'd be fools if they wrote Westworld off as a one-shot deal.

The group - TNT vocalist Tony Harnell, Riot guitarist Mark Reale, Danger Danger bassist Bruno Ravel and drummer John O'Reilly (presently with Blackmore's Night) - doesn't pretend to try to be anything like the groups each individual member comes from. In retrospect, this works to their advantage; by carving out their own sound and style, they force people to take this band at face value.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For the most part, this attack works well. Kicking things off with a strong track in "Illusions" (and with the help of a few other performers along the way), Westworld creates an enjoyable pop-rock mix that slices through all musical boundaries. Tracks like "Bring The Water To Me," "Suicide" and "I Belong" all help to advance Westworld's case.

The biggest complaint I have isn't even the band's fault. Maybe this has been fixed on more recent pressings, but don't even bother trying to follow the tracks as listed on the back of the case, as that order goes out the window once you pass "Heart Song". I don't know why the track order is so bungled (and why all ten tracks aren't listed - is this reminiscent of The Clash throwing "Train In Vain" onto London Calling at the last minute?), but it sure didn't help me the first time I sat down to give this disc some brain cells.

And while Westworld is quite pleasing on many levels, there is the occasional misstep. "Love You Insane" just fails to click for me, as does "Heart Song". Maybe it's because I got thrown with "Love You Insane"'s opening line "I'd like to feel you inside / the way that you feel me". In truth, the song isn't speaking about sex, though it's real hard to break that mentality thanks to that one portion of the verse.

Westworld is the kind of disc that you can appreciate on the first listen, but it also is a disc whose majesty is discovered only through multiple listenings. Each time I thought I was ready to write something about this disc, I eventually found myself going back for one more listen, almost as if I was dusting another layer of dust off an excavated antique. (At a shade over 45 minutes, it's a rather smooth and quick listen.) And each time, I found that the time hadn't been wasted.

Westworld might have been the result of an interesting side project, but here's hoping this is just the first chapter of a musical partnership. If this disc is indicative of what this group can do, I'm hoping we'll see much more real soon.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.