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Desperation BLVD – Desperation BLVD

Desperation BLVD
Desperation BLVD
by Matt Bozenda at 26 December 2020, 12:05 PM

Certainly, Metaldom is not immune to nostalgia. There’s never been a shortage of cover bands or tribute bands playing old tunes the old way, and the market for them has ever been fertile ground. The trope of countries catching on to music genres well past their prime has essentially gone to the wayside in the internet age, and enough time has gone by that no Metalhead of any nation is very far from sentimentalism.

Take Italy, for example, where from the ashes of ROXIN’ PALACE comes DESPERATION BLVD with their self-titled debut EP, "Desperation BLVD". It seems the name is not inspired by the 1998 Judy Tenuta vehicle co-starring Emo Phillips and Dana Plato. The sound is a bit weirder than that, combining 80’s Glam/Hair with a kind of mid-00’s generation of tuning. That is to say, it’s as though RCA took two decades of obsoleteness to create a high-definition VCR.

The first track, "November Pain", starts off promisingly enough with a racing guitar and a raucous backup. The vocals clash with the music in some spots, however, and the generous peppering of F-bombs take away something artistically. "Queen Of Heartache" follows up with a bit more of a thought-out approach, altogether an improvement from the preceding track, even while mostly following the same sort of rhythm.

The intro to "Henhouse Tales" jars the senses a bit but the song itself is as near to inception as throwbacks can get, because it sounds like a song from 2005 inspired by a song from 1985. That formula holds up for the next track, "North-East Boulevard".

Wings are finally spread on “Hold Back The Rain”, a cover of the DURAN DURAN song, which at over four minutes is actually the longest offering from this EP. They also get it right on the closer, “Sorry (I Don’t Want You)”, featuring guest vocalist Alessia Scolletti of TEMPERANCE, which manages to sound modern, rather than merely modernized.

This is not the future of Metal, let alone rock and roll. It took a cover of a non-metal song and a soaring guest vocalist before this EP sounded worth the time, even though the whole thing weighs in at a scant twenty minutes. Without much info to glean from the internet, by listening alone it’s hard to tell if these are young guys playing a vintage sound, or old guys playing what they’ve been playing for years.

At any rate, If someone like Vince Neil or Bret Michaels needs a band to back them up for some solo shows in Italy, they should look up DESPERATION BLVD. The vibe from this EP is beyond merely old school, almost disturbingly so. The listeners who are looking for this sort of music are going to love it, but there’s no guarantee for everyone else.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 5
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. November Pain
2. Queen Of Heartache
3. Henhouse Tales
4. North-East Boulevard
5. Hold Back The Rain
6. Sorry (I Don’t Love You)
Alex Corona – Vocals, guitars
Matteo Martinelli – Bass
Elvis Ortolan – Drums
Record Label: Black Lodge Records


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Edited 27 February 2021

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