US composer and musician Ryan ROXIE has been active in the rock business for 30 years or so at this point. He is arguably best known for being involved as a studio and live musician for Alice Cooper on multiple occasions since the mid 1990’s, but he also has a few regular bands he’s been a member of as well as a few bands he has formed himself over the years. “Imagine Your Reality” is his first proper solo album, and was released in 2018 through Bellyache Records.
Roxie is in his 50’s at this point, but he doesn’t sound as old by far on this album. If anything one might get the impression that this is the creation of an energetic youngster in his early 20’s, delightfully enjoying the sex, the drugs and the rock and roll. Listening closer to the songs you do hear that a more thought presence is behind what at first listen sounds like easygoing affairs of the party rock variety, and that a lot of thoughts has gone into providing details that elevates the total listener experience. That being said, this isn’t an advanced album with advanced music as such, as the type of music is very much in the easy going, energetic hard rock vein. But the songs has been crafted with a fair degree of thought and sophistication to create music that does make an impact.
On the ten songs at hand, Roxie and his band explores a fairly varied landscape as well. 70’s hard rock is a brief summary I guess, as most of the songs fits nicely into this general context. But we are taken on a tour in this landscape, that ventures from good time and good vibes party rock in a vein not too far removed from the likes of AC/DC to creations that nods subtly in the direction of both Americana and southern rock. There are songs with something of a garage rock touch to them as well, and old 50’s rock’n roll is given a tip of the hat on a occasion or two as well. And it is probably needless to say that few blues oriented details finds their way into this stew as well.
Always tight, often energetic and always enjoyable, this ten track album is an enjoyable vintage-oriented ride back to 70’s hard rock as it used to be: Short and sweet songs that never overly explore their ingredients, a suitably rough sound that shies away from a more modern, polished sound, and good ideas explored in the right manner: Never overly explored, but never cut off too short either. A good balance throughout, on every level, and good songs to boot. With a few brilliant cuts as the icing on the cake in the case of Generation Me and God Put a Smile Upon Your Face. An album easy to recommend to those who know and know their uplifting, US style vintage era hard rock.
My rating: 82/100
1. Big Rock Show
2. Over & Done
3. California Man
4. To Live & Die in LA
5. The Uh Oh Song
6. Me Generation
7. Look Me in the Eye
8. Heart’s in Trouble
9. Nevermind Me
10. God Put a Smile Upon Your Face