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Attica - Wild Cry (Reissue) Award winner

Attica
Wild Cry (Reissue)
by Kira Schlechter at 13 June 2020, 11:52 PM

In every decade, there’s always those bands that fly under the radar – while everyone around them is getting famous, somehow they miss out for whatever reason, a change in musical tastes, personnel problems, whatever. Some of them deserved fame as much as their contemporaries – one of them was ATTICA, and the recent reissue of their 1990 debut album “Wild Cry” shows why. Founded by bassist Glenn (his given last name is Bogan) in Minneapolis in 1987, contemporaries of bands like DIRTY LOOKS and NITRO, the lineup on the album finally coalesced in 1989. They lasted only a year after it was released, splitting up in 1991. They reformed in various groupings since and put out a second album, “Hell To Pay.”

The reissue starts with “Shot Down,” very much of that time period – think all those ‘80s bands from MOTLEY CRUE to SKID ROW to TWISTED SISTER to, well, you get it. The mix sounds great, huge, resonant, well balanced; the guitar solo work is fantastic, as you’d expect for the time when glam metal hovered on the knife’s edge of grunge. Rexx’s voice is a gritty scream with a piercing high register as he tells a story thematically akin to “18 And Life” – antisocial criminal kid meets a bad end by suicide by cop, but in this case, it’s Jimmy instead of Ricky.

“I Wanna Go” is crunchy and heavy and super melodic with terrific echoey backing vocals in the chorus. Glenn’s bass solo in the bridge and Steve’s fade-out guitar soloing are brisk and energetic. It’s about the urge to wander that, once satisfied, makes you realize you just want to be home after all, but the travel made you mature and realize what’s important. The change in perspective is done very subtly and very well. “All of my friends that I think that I have/You know when something goes wrong they end up stabbing my back/So I wanna go,” we begin, but midway through, though, our narrator isn’t so sure – “I’ve done 2,000 miles to land on my feet/There’s nobody here, I feel so incomplete.” He concludes that, “Now that I’m here and I’ve seen what I’ve seen/It ain’t nothing like what it was in my dream” and realizes “All of my friends that I knew that I had/They’ll take me right back and get me right on track.”

“She’s Hot” has a truly dirty groove, a real case of the music completely matching the theme. It’s pretty self-explanatory – the hot girl temptress idea – but it has kind of a heart-wrenching twist at the end that’s all the better in that you didn’t see it coming. They give hints at it with the repeated line in the chorus, “Well, she loves anyone she could be with,” but the ultimate denouement goes by quickly, which makes it even more effective, as does the strippped-down vocal accompanying it (and I’ll leave that twist for you to discover). “Geppetto” is a snide, just-under-three-minutes burst with a very clever lyric – he was Pinocchio’s master, but in this case, she is the narrator’s master – as he says, with wry humor, “Wanna run but my slacks grown tight.”

Rexx’s voice is stratospheric on the title track, a perfect pairing with the frantic, off-the-rails subject matter. It hints at addiction, but again in a delicate, well-drawn way with lightly shaded imagery – “You're a victim any given day/Waiting on your next score/If the money’s not there, you’re gonna do it anyway,” and “If you don’t face it, you’ll always chase it/Your monkey’s here to stay.” “Good As Sold” stars some fairly foreboding-sounding drums and has a direct, punchy chorus. The hitching low drum part in the solo section is terrific, as is the sing-songy reprise of the chorus at the end and Rexx’s final shattering wail. It’s kind of about someone who thrives on chaos, who loves causing trouble, and the narrator is almost like a conscience, warning that if you don’t shape up, it won’t end well.

“Loaded” is tons of fun, nothing serious to see here, a la ”Nothin’ But a Good Time.” That main riff is so sweet and perky and bouncy and altogether impossible to resist. Your typical party song, it has just one tiny bit of regret – “I'll never drink again/So my sobriety’s thin.” Rexx’s grating shriek drives home the point of the closer, “Runnin’,” which is you’d better face your problems because judgment’s coming for you (“And now you keep on runnin’/You’ll never stop becoming/The things your eyes could never see/If you don’t stop to face it/Your life’s become forsaken”) – maybe even divine judgment (“Once you’ve met the maker, you’ll have no choice/He’ll make you stand and hear the voice”). The harmony guitars in the solo section is a brief but unforgettable moment, and the ending repeat of the first verse and the chorus layers Rexx’s scream with his lower register, which serves almost like the two voices of reason in a way.

“Wild Cry” is an overlooked gem from a chaotic time.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Shot Down
2. I Wanna Go
3. She’s Hot
4. Geppetto
5. Wild Cry
6. Good As Sold
7. Loaded
8. Runnin
Lineup:
Bradley (Rexx) Dean - Vocals
Steve Rooker - Guitar, Vocals
Glenn B. Damage - Bass, Vocals
Chris Hallet - Drums
Record Label: Heaven and Hell Records
     


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Edited 17 September 2021
 

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