Warrant – Born Again (2006, Cleopatra Records/Deadline Records)
1. “Devil’s Juice” … 3:28
2. “Dirty Jack” … 4:02
3. “Bourbon County Line” … 3:52
4. “Hell, CA” … 4:20
5. “Angels” … 4:33
6. “Love Strikes Like Lightning” … 3:56
7. “Glimmer” … 3:31
8. “Roller Coaster” … 2:48
9. “Down In Diamonds” … 4:00
10. “Velvet Noose” … 3:01
11. “Roxy” … 3:16
12. “Good Times” … 4:10
Jaime St. James – Lead Vocals
Joey Allen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Erik Turner – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jerry Dixon – Bass, Backing Vocals
Steven Sweet – Drums, Backing Vocals
Pat Regan – Keyboards
Produced by: Pat Regan
Ah, Warrant. They just can’t keep it together, can they? Musically, throughout their entire career, they’ve done fine, but as far as keeping the “classic” lineup going (the lineup that gave us the classic hair metal albums Dirty Rotten Stinking Filthy Rich and Cherry Pie), it’s been quite a struggle.
In 2006, the “classic” reunion almost happened. The version of Warrant that enjoyed the most commercial success just missed getting back together. In January of that year, singer Jani Lane left the band and the following month “classic” members Joey Allen and Steven Sweet rejoined. Coincidence? Or conspiracy? I seem to remember some rumors swirling around that the one thing that kept Joey and Steven from ever rejoining the band was the fact that Jani was still in it. So he was out, and in very short order, they were both back in.
Enter former Black ‘n Blue vocalist Jaime St. James and a new album was fast tracked. It was great news to me to know a new Warrant album was coming because with Jani at the helm, despite the fact that he was/is a great songwriter, Warrant seemed content to merely be a nostalgia act and to do hair band package tours in the Summer. They never went fully in on the early 2000s hair metal resurgence and it never made sense to me when they didn’t join in and do a reunion/new album like many of their peers had done. I’m sure Jani’s alcohol problems go a long way in explaining just why it didn’t happen though.
To the music at hand, despite my anticipation for a Warrant album, I wasn’t sure if Born Again was going to be any good at all. As I said above, Jani’s a great writer and he was the lead creative force in the band, but founding members Jerry Dixon and Erik Turner (and St. James to an extent) really stepped up and delivered one of the 2006’s most surprising and pleasant rock albums.
It’s not really retro, the band doesn’t attempt to capture past glories, but it still has a cool old school hard rock feel. The album doesn’t sound outdated, but it doesn’t sound like a lame attempt to sound modern either. It’s a little more dirty, raw and bluesy than anything Warrant has done before. Sounds like a bit of St. James’ Black ‘n Blue influence has worn off on the band.
A good effort from a band that I was ready to write off. There’s definite promise in them post-Lane and that fact would become ever more important after Lane rejoined the group and lasted all of nine months in 2008 when he was ousted again due to alcohol abuse.
I hope Jani really pulls it together, his non-Warrant projects are solid, so I know he’ll at least musically be fine without Warrant but I’m also looking forward to seeing what Dixon & Turner wild do next with ex-Lynch Mob/current Big Cock vocalist Robert Mason up front (Jaime St. James has since reunited Black ‘n Blue).
Highlights: “Devil’s Juice”, “Dirty Jack”, “Bourbon County Line”, “Hell, CA”, “Angels”, “Love Strikes Like Lightning”, “Roxy”