posted on 4/2010 By:
You never know what the mail will bring. Sometimes it’s albums you know and anticipate, more often than not it’s stuff of varying quality from small labels and independent bands—sometimes professionally packaged, but just as often in the form of a CD-R with or without photocopied cover art. But it’s rare that a package can deliver the immediate ear-to-ear grin that Klown’s Alive II brought me. The Kiss tribute band’s effort goes way, way above and beyond when it comes to details. The cover recreates Alive II, of course, while the back cover recreates the original Alive album. The disc is made to look like vinyl, complete with the Casablanca-style label in the center. Also worth a chuckle of admiration are all the extras stuck inside the package—a personalized pick, trading card, sticker, and an invitation to join the Klown Army. Just like the old days. The only thing missing were inserts pitching you the official Klown necklace, axe-shaped bass, and pinball machine. For a guy that spent the better part of 1978 singing along to Alive and Alive II while playing the shit out of a tennis racket, this presentation earns Klown a load of respect right out of the gate.
The disc itself is presented as a live album, like its namesake, with faux-crowd noise pumped in, and that famous Kiss between-song banter (“If any of you girls wanna get yourselves…Klowned, meet us in the ‘Ladies Room’.”). The Paul Stanley vocals and persona are right on the money, and the tongue-in-cheek Stanley banter is a hoot, although it tends to run long in a few places. The rub comes about five songs in, when the novelty of the project wears off. After that it’s just someone else playing Kiss tunes, albeit reasonably capably. The “live” presentation is a shrewd strategy, as it plays up the good time nostalgia element, but also is more forgiving production-wise.
This is one of those times where as a reviewer you have to separate enjoyment of a free record from one that’s for sale to you the reader. Ultimately, as fun an offering as this is, after the novelty wears off it would seem to have limited replay value. That is, of course, if you enjoy your rock and roll with plenty of cold beer from your combination Kiss coffin/beer cooler.
Note: Ratings do not apply.
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