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The Dragons Sin Salvation

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Tuesday, September 16, 2003 @ 9:25 AM


(Gearhead Records)

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San Diego-based rawk ‘n’ rollers the Dragons have been cranking out quality music for over a decade now and seem to get better with every album. Tight as a gnat’s ass and as drunk and reckless as Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers in their prime, this band shakes, rattles and rolls like it’s 1978 and every night is a gig at CBGB. Sin Salvation is no exception to this rule. As always, the boys offer up a jagged, rusty silver platter of good ol’ fashion rock ‘n’ roll that should please fans of Hanoi Rock to the Replacements, from Buck Cherry to Chuck Berry.

The title-track, “Money Or Your Life” and “Dirty Bomb” are the kinda tunes that just leap right out of your stereo and hold a knife to your throat, all piss and vinegar and attitude. “Claire” and “Kiss Me (Cause Life’s Obscure)” find the band throwing some teeny-bop hooks into their gutter-rock pot. “Ignition LZ” is an absolutely decimating piece of work, a blitzkrieg of firebrand riffs, smoulderin’ leads and headbangin’ power. One of their best tunes ever.

As with their live sets, the band closes with a coupla covers, this time Thunders’ “Sad Vacation” and Hanoi Rocks’ epic “Tragedy.” Both get the Dragons sweaty meat ‘n’ potatoes workout, and both end sounding like singer/guitarist Mario Escovedo wrote ‘em!

Escovedo could be Izzy Stadlin’s Mexican half-brother, a tough street hood who wears his heart on his sleeve, carries a switchblade and has a low-slung six-string axe to grind. Backed by drummer Jarrod Lucas’s steady beat and Steve Rodriguez’s heartthrob mob bass hump, Escovedo carries the Keith Richards/Ronnie Wood torch high and proud, and maybe one of the last true-grit rock ‘n’ roll songwriters on the planet. But it’s Ken Horne who keeps things dangerous. Kenny is the secret weapon of the group, the shedding monster guitarist that keeps the snobs and skeptics quiet by delivering dizzying leads that defy all punk logic. Like Andy McCoy, Joe Perry and Ross The Boss rolled up into one, Kenny will tear the ribs right outta yer chest if you don’t watch out.

They got the ‘tude, they got the chops, they got the hooks and they look cool. What more do want? You want blood? They got that too -- it’s tainted with whiskey and runs through their veins like wine. Cheers.

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