Album Review: Santa Cruz, ‘Santa Cruz’

Santa CruzArtist: Santa Cruz
Album: Santa Cruz
Our Verdict: 8/10
Release date: 9th March
Find it at: iTunes
Review by: Graeme Blackwell

“An unholy alliance between Slash’s scythe-like solos and Def Leppard’s gang-chant vocal prime, Santa Cruz is the sound of the Sunset Strip with a mighty, meaty and modern metal update.”

“Don’t need nothin’ but a good time” yelped Brett Michaels on Poison’s 1986 squillion selling debut album. It’s a philosophy that Finland’s Santa Cruz seem to have taken to heart on their self-titled sophomore LP.

Using the Sunset Strip sound as the launch point for their searing brand of contemporary hard rock, Archie, Johnny, Middy and Taz here successfully run the gamut from Guns N’ Roses, through mid-period Skid Row and on in to Motley territory and beyond, but with a mighty and meaty modern metal update.

“Velvet Rope” sounds like the song that Seb Bach and Co. should have written following the success of Slave To The Grind. “We Are The Ones To Fall” is an unholy alliance between Slash’s scythe-like solos and Def Leppard’s gang-chant vocal prime. “Wasted & Wounded” somehow manages to take all those elements, bolt on a down-tuned stop-start chug of a riff the likes of which wouldn’t sound out of place on Bring Me The Horizon’s Sempiternal, and still pull it off without a hitch.

“Hey! Put your middle fingers up and raise your fuckin’ hands in the air!” demands Archie on the opening blast of lead track “Bonafide Heroes.” Frankly, if that isn’t your default stance by the time you’ve finished listening to Santa Cruz, then you’re probably beyond saving. For the rest of us, the fantastic Finns are the party-starting, glam-tinged hard rock hope that we’ve been waiting for.

Santa Cruz are touring the UK in March supporting Amaranthe on the following dates:

March 17th: O2 Academy Islington, London
March 18th: Warehouse 23, Wakefield
March 19th: ABC2, Glasgow
March 20th: Academy 3/Club Academy, Manchester
March 21st: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
March 22nd: The Marble Factory, Bristol

Check out the band’s current video for “Wasted & Wounded” below:

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