Although Warrior Soul were not typical Glitzine stuff, few people familiar with their music would deny they were capable of delivering some kick-ass rock n' roll amongst their more arty and political musings. As such, front-man Kory Clarke's promise to deliver a glam punk extravaganza with his new L.A. band, Space Age Playboys no doubt left many tense with anticipation. Sadly, that promise has not yet been entirely lived up to.
Coming across like Ziggy Stardust meets Demolition 23 (no bad thing) the Playboys are a tight band with a great singer and a strong song-writing partnership between Clarke and guitarist Johnny Jetson but their debut c.d., 'New Rock Underground' is frustrating nonetheless. While there are a couple of filler tracks (as with most albums) the real problem is highlighted by the better tunes, such as 'Buzz On' 'Ambient Guru' 'Cities, Scenes & Thieves' and the very nearly a classic 'The Band Gets High'. All of these are great, futuristic glam abandon of the highest order with mean guitars and sneering, swirling attitude-laden lyrics. However, all of them could be so much better. The (self)production seems muted and underdone and there's none of the urgency or bite music of this style needs to move from average to something better. Nor are their the absolute killer hooks that Clarke is capable of creating.
Ultimately, its not a bad album, it's just that it isn't a great one either and it really could've been. Still there is enough here (and on a couple of non-album MP3s that are out their) to suggest that next time out, maybe with an outside producer, the Space Age Playboys could just pull out a masterpiece.
Reviewed by Micheal Ross