August 24, 2020 Lynch Mob – Wicked Sensation Reimagined (Album Review)
Reimagined albums are the new trend where bands take something old and shine it up to make it new again. Black Veil Brides recently did this well with Re-Stitch These Wounds, ditto Halestorm with the Reimagined EP. And not to compare apples to oranges, but Lynch Mob are about to tap into this trend with their latest, Wicked Sensation Reimagined, which arrives on Friday, August 28, 2020 thanks to Rat Pak Records.
Originally released on October 23, 1990, Wicked Sensation marked the beginning of Lynch Mob’s somewhat inconsistent career. At the time, the band was composed of Vocalist Oni Logan, Guitarist George Lynch (for whom the band is named), Bassist Anthony Esposito, and Drummer Mick Brown. Though line-up changes and periods of inactivity have plagued the band’s career, leaving Lynch as the sole permanent member, the band has managed to release seven additional LPs, including 1992’s Lynch Mob, 2009’s Smoke and Mirrors, and 2017’s The Brotherhood.
No strangers to reworking and rerecording their earlier material for a new record, as is evidenced on 2003’s REvolution, these days Lynch Mob—Vocalist Logan, Guitarist Lynch, Bassist Robbie Crane (of Black Star Riders), and Drummer Brian Tichy—is ready to dial the clock back to offer their fans a sinful celebration to mark 30 years of their epic debut. But for those already feeling a bit skeptical, Lynch has made it clear that he in no way intends to replace the original LP, one that is highly-lauded in the Hard Rock community. Instead, Wicked Sensation Reimagined is meant as a triumphant salute to the impressive disc that pushed Lynch Mob into the spotlight.
At 12 tracks, Wicked Sensation Reimagined matches its forebear in length and arrangement of the material. In essence, this is a track by track journey back to the days when hair was meant to be teased and leather was considered casual attire. So it all begins again with “Wicked Sensation.” Whereas the original was a bluesy take on Glam Metal/Hard Rock, the reimagining presents a funkified take on the song. In this, it’s immediately clear that the album is definitely not a rehashing of the old arrangements, just as Lynch promised. Logan’s vocals are even stronger here than they were back then, and Lynch, well, he’s still a master at his craft.
The overall vibe is that of an informal jam session as the foursome take on “River of Love.” With a slower pace and more languid guitar work from Lynch, some of the original’s oomph gets lost in the arrangement, sucking away a bit of that buoyant energy. And though the groove of “Sweet Sister Mercy” originally opened to harmonica that has been stripped away, but the new version still manages to be bluesier as it holds onto the gang vocals that provide a punch of infectious melody. For “All I Want,” the sultry slither is lost, creating another jam session that, while it has a certain panache, doesn’t quite match the mood of the original. But don’t despair: if you don’t care that the vibe has shifted, this particular reimagining is a stand-out and one that allows Lynch to display his exceptional musicianship.
Next, the devious stomp of “Hell Child” is absorbed into an increased pace. In fact, at times, Logan and Lynch appear to struggle to keep up with Tichy’s beat, though they survive to explore “She’s Evil but She’s Mine.” This time around the deceptive lady isn’t quite as sinuous, but she maintains some of her spark, and Crane shines, pushing through the layers to provide an anchor for his bandmates. Unfortunately, when the fat bass and gang vocal calls of the next track, “Dance of the Dogs,” are muddied in the reimagined version, it creates something that is a pale echo of its predecessor.
Again, no reason to lose hope. As the band tackle their hit “Rain,” they shove aside the smooth production of the original in favor of a raw feel, one that more properly fits this collection. Otherwise, they manage to hold onto much of the vibe and pay a nice homage to their past while displaying their current abilities. In fact, the same can be said for all of the album which, unlike the pristine and youthful fun of Wicked Sensation, shows a group of matured musicians who wear their past with pride.
Case in point, the arena rocker “No Bed of Roses” keeps its sing-along qualities but acquires some perfectly-aged perspective, adding a whiskey-soaked grit to its edges. This paves the way for the one-time power ballad “Through These Eyes,” which is acoustic in its new incarnation, adding an intimacy that places the spotlight on Logan’s vocals. If there’s an instance where one of the reimaginings holds equal power to its first draft, well, this is it: a beautiful reworking that pours on the emotion.
As they near the home stretch, it’s time for “For a Million Years.” Previously, the track captured the sound of 1990 with perfection, even offering slight echoes of Queensrÿche. Those are mostly removed for the rehash, which focuses on Lynch’s guitar work as well as the lyrics soaring from Logan’s lips. Appropriately, all of this sets the stage for their grand finale, “Street Fighting Man.” The incendiary slug of the original is given some funky flourishes in its guitar work, but the track manages to keep the same level of sass, providing a perfect ending for a collection full of raw energy.
Though the majority of the reimagined tracks never manage to outshine that magical debut, that was clearly never the point. Taken as a tribute to a magnificent record, Wicked Sensation Reimagined is an enjoyable trip down memory lane with a band who still know how to deliver a hard rocking good time all these years later. So while you can never go home again, Lynch Mob has never disputed this fact. Instead, they offer up 12 tracks that wholeheartedly prove that despite the passage of three decades, they are still quite wicked. Reportedly the band’s last recording under the moniker ‘Lynch Mob,’ Cryptic Rock gives their celebratory and possibly final LP 4 of 5 stars.