I was young but alive when arena rock was at its height. The music, clothing and more has been etched in stone. I knew within about five seconds what I would be listening to when looking at the Bandcamp page for Beach Viper and their release Alive & Free. This music is prime ’80s rock in the spirit of bands like Styx, Warrant, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe and many others. The band sounds like they never left that time period and I would have no idea this music was made recently if I didn’t read it.
The band starts with “I Shall Return” which after a quick intro has all the members rocking out together. They do a good job implementing rock 101 type of moves from the handbook. There is even the ever classic falsetto singing. Suffice it to say if you like this song you enjoy all the others.
They have more success with “Alive & Free” which is straightforward arena rock while “Climbing to the Top” is the definition of summer jam that people used to jam out to at BBQ’s. The energy gets to another level on “Beach Stomp Boogie” which might be the highlight. They close with “West Coast” which is the outlier in the batch. This song is their ballad. Similar to how Guns N' Roses had “Patience” they have “West Coast.”
There are bands that try and update a retro sound and those that simply go all in and are purists. This release is clearly in the latter. The band wears their influence on their sleeves and didn’t seem to care for trying to give these songs a more contemporary style which I have to respect.
It doesn't take a lot of logic to understand who will love this music. If you love arena rock in the style of some of the aforementioned bands like Van Halen and Mötley Crüe I have zero doubt you will love these songs. If that’s you then you just found your favorite release of the year.
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