S.E.X. Department - S/T

S.E.X. Department are a three piece glam/sleaze band based in Vienna and formed from the ashes of Hollywood Vampires. After releasing the debut album "Night Club 666" under the Hollywood Vampires name they played with bands such as L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, Pretty Boy Floyd and Shameless before changing the name of the band and recording this, their second album.

'Call Me Baby Call Me' kicks things off with a slow seedy groove that breaks into a chorus that is pure bubblegum. The solo break begs you to dance along and on the whole the song is a great opening track. 'Drive Me Insane' is the obligatory ballad; the track is ok but nothing exciting and feels like it comes too soon on the album. Ballads should be kept back (if recorded at all!) until at least track 4 to give the album time to bed down into the listeners head. Unfortunately it also shows the limitations of Kelly "Trash" Mendess' voice, it's just not strong enough to carry this kind of song. 'Revenge Of Vampires' is much better, bringing a faster tempo glam sound to proceedings and is a much better fit. 'Rock'n'Roll Never Dies' had me worried at the intro starting off with a power ballad feel (I'm not often a big fan of ballads - power ballad or otherwise!) but my worries were thankfully unfounded. It's a great song but it's almost painful to listen to Kelly trying to hit the high notes when you're listening through headphones. Closing the first half of the album is 'One Way Ticket To Rock' which opens with everyone's favourite sound - cowbell! A great riff but unfortunately with more cringeworthy high notes, although it has to be said that they never ruin the song and render it unlistenable. 'Glitter Bitter' has a slow sleaze feel and lots of "Woah-Woah"'s throughout and is a great title for any song. A military drum beat starts 'Yes Sir Yes' before kicking into a riff straight from sunset strip circa 1989. The slide guitar intro on 'Italian Cowboy' is almost exactly the same as the slide work on Gilby Clarke's "Skin 'n' Bones" but doesn't distract from what is a great acoustic and harmonica based track which would be great for singing round a fire late at night. The penultimate track 'Rock 'n' Roll' is an absolutely fantastic four-minute slice of big dumb glam fun right down to the scream of "Guitar!" right before the solo. This would go down a storm on the dancefloor of rock clubs everywhere, it's the type of song that's guaranteed to leave you with a huge grin on your face by the end of it. The album closes with 'S.E.X. Department' itself and begs the question - why is this the end track? This is the bands statement of intent, big glam riffs sleazy attitude, cowbell and no lyrics, just "Sex Department" repeated over and over. Surely this has to be the opening track of the album and is the perfect intro to their live set.

The band have invested a lot of time and effort into their image, kinda like a self styled sex police and as daft as that sounds they look great. Their merchandise also reflects this with the band selling replicas of their uniforms, which makes a change from the usual t-shirts and hoodies. A European tour is scheduled for March and April of 2008 with Dirty Penny and The Gypsy Pistoleros, dates are due to be announced very soon and on the strength of this album alone it's a tour well worth going to see.


by John Baxter

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