Album Review: Tokyo Motor Fist

Tokyo Motor Fist
Genre: AOR, Hair Metal
Musicianship: 3.5
Songwriting: 3.0
Production & Engineering: 3.0
Vibe: 4.0
Overall Rating:

3.38 (out of 4)


Pre-millennial rockers, Ted Poley (Danger Danger) and Steve Brown (Trixter), are still alive and well, touring with their bands of ‘80s fame.  It’s always interesting to hear artists from different bands getting together to put out a “super group” CD, and we have heard varying results. Tokyo Motor Fist was one such project that came across our desk. Being pre-millennial, East coast rockers ourselves, we had high hopes for local NY/NJ successes like Poley and Brown, and knowing that they were backed up by veterans Greg Smith and Chuck Burgi (both of Rainbow fame) holding down the rhythm section, we suspected something fun was going to leap from our speakers, and we were not disappointed.

Right out of the starting gate was Poley’s impressive vocal delivery and familiar tone. His voice is timeless, in that it has had no appreciable deterioration over some thirty years of hearing him blast through our car speakers (the only thing that has changed is our cars have gotten nicer). Fast paced rockers like “Love Me Insane” showcase his often playful approach to melody and song structure, while the track also features multi-layered guitars with suggestive melodic content along with a solid, distinct rhythms. We particularly enjoyed Steve Brown’s guitar solo and crafty use of octave-jumping runs.

The song “Love,” showcases Poley’s mastery of the ballad and just how well-suited his voice is to the style. The straightforward track was as simple and pretty as it needed to be in order to let the song and musicianship shine. The phase-type effects on what sounded like a heavily processed vocal track added a nice touch. Steve Brown’s simple guitar solo showed an authority and style only achieved by years of experience and mastery of the instrument.

The con brio piece, “You’re My Revolution,” has a great, driving feel with a steady double kick. Here, Brown’s guitar playing really shines through, taking us home with fast-yet-well-crafted and articulate licks, and some great rhythm work as well. Even the bass had a chance to shine in the bridge section with a tasteful featured melody, an artistic risk in AOR material, where the bass and drums need to hold down the often more-featured guitar and vocal lines. Well played.

Another standout, the track, “Put Me To Shame” makes no apologies. This is AOR, and here it is in spades! We loved the wicked, palm-muted, syncopated riff, prominently harmonized vocal lines, and a split verse where it started laid back and got bigger and bigger until it grabbed us with a full-on monster chorus.

Assuming your kids aren’t embarrassed by your penchant for classic ‘80s hair metal, this album is fun for the whole family.


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