Coney Hatch - 'Four' CD Review (Frontiers Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Coney Hatch - 'Four' CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Coney Hatch - 'Four' CD Review (Frontiers Records)
Back in the day, the phrase ‘arena rock’ didn’t have the negative “mass marketing” connotation that it seems to have today so, growing up, I went to a number of shows at the Capital Centre – which was a concrete monolith in the “Middle-of-Nowhere”, MD. I only have vague memories of Canadian arena rockers Coney Hatch coming through town (I didn’t catch the show where the band opened for Iron Maiden) so Coney Hatch’s reunion disc Four was my first exposure to the band’s music.

Even without knowing the band’s back catalog, Four is a surprisingly strong release given this is the band’s first disc in 28 years. For those like me who weren’t familiar with Coney Hatch’s sound, I’d compare the band’s new album to a smoother-edged Kix with some hints/riffs of early AC/DC around the edges. Coney Hatch features two vocalists: rhythm guitarist Carl Dixon, who sings the hook-heavy melodic numbers, and bassist Andy Curran, who sings the grittier bar room rockers.

The disc starts with “Blown Away” (sung by Dixon) which has some insanely catchy melodic hooks and a big sing-along chorus. This is followed by “Boy’s Club” (sung by Curran), which is a gritty guitar-driven rocker. With Dixon and Curran almost evenly splitting lead vocals, these two songs give a good indication of the sound of the rest of the disc. Some of the other strong numbers are the up-tempo “Down & Dirty” and the blues-rocker “Devil You Know” (both sung by Dixon), “Marseilles” (which lifts its guitar riffs from Bon Scott era AC/DC) and the fist-pumping, guitar chugging “We Want More” (these later two tracks are sung by Curran). While the majority of the disc is high-energy, the band slows the pace down a bit on “Revive” (which features upfront vocals from both vocalists) and the disc closer “Holding On”, which is a mellow rockers that is sure to get the lighters in the air. The only “oddball” cut on the disc is “Do It Again” which is a bit lighter weight than the rest of the disc and sounds like a alt-pop modern rock number.

For anyone who missed the pre-hair metal arena rock scene, check out the video for the short film "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" – which was filmed in the parking lot before a Dokken / Judas Priest concert in 1986 at the Capital Centre.

Here is the back story behind Coney Hatch’s reunion: Late one night, on his way home from a recording session in Australia, a weary Carl Dixon had a near fatal head-on car collision that left him clinging to life. While Carl was still in an induced coma, his wife reached out to the other members of Coney Hatch and asked them to offer words of encouragement over to the phone to Carl. She held the phone to his ear as he lay unconscious in his bed. "I told him to get better quick," says bassist/vocalist Andy Curran. "I said we had a lot more rockin' to do with Coney Hatch. I really didn't think we'd play together again but it just came out of my mouth… and Carl remembered it!"

Coney Hatch