One of the most misunderstood Hard Rock bands to emerge from the 1980’s is returning with their highly anticipated sixth studio album. Comprised of original members Kip Winger on vocals/bass, Reb Beach on guitar, Rod Morgenstein on drums, plus long-term guitarist John Roth, Winger is releasing Better Days Comin’, their first album for five years. They will be promoting it with a main stage appearance at Download Festival, and the inaugural Frontiers Festival in Milan at the beginning of May.
Winger formed in 1987 and soared to immediate success with their 1988 self-titled release. The album spawned the hit singles ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’ and achieved platinum sales status. Wingeralso stayed on the Billboard Top 200 chart for over 60 weeks where it peaked at #21. Their next album, ‘In The Heart Of The Young’, also achieved platinum status and contained the singles ‘Can’t Get Enuff’ and ‘Miles Away’. The change in musical climate of the mid-90’s, compounded with unprovoked ridicule on MTV’s popular Beavis and Butthead, led the band to go on hiatus in 1994. In 2001, the band reunited and have not looked back since. Winger has made a name for themselves with relentless touring, while winning back fans and critics alike because of their exceptional musicianship, Kip Winger’s powerful vocals and the band’s incredible songwriting.
“On ‘Better Days Comin’’ we drew from our past to elaborate on our future. The band is stronger than ever and very excited about the music on this record,” explains front man Kip Winger. “We feel this album exemplifies the true sound of the band in every way.”
I’d heard on the grapevine that Better Days Comin’ was a return to form for the NYC outfit. If the likes of Seventeen, HFAH, Easy Come Easy Go, and Down Incognito rock your Winger world the this new one will fit in very nicely with your album collection, as it’s a good as anything they have ever done, and that’s saying something. Whilst many 90s bands are living firmly on their past status Winger are driving theirs forward with aplomb.
‘Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine’ is perfect evidence of why Winger in 2014 are kicking ass – and that is down to Kip Wingers voice – its completely unchanged and sounding better than it ever did. Couple this instrument in itself with the dual guitar attack of Messers Roth and Beach, and the rhythmic and powerful drumming of Rod Morgenstein, and it truly is a beautiful thing to behold. ‘Queen Babylon’ is a modern day classic – classic Winger with a ‘Pull’ vibe, also the harmonics on ‘Rat Race’, just make me go all ‘goosey!’. Title Track ‘BDC’ has a soulful/gospel vibe to proceedings and is a step back from the first three but a nice and welcome change to the flow. ‘Tin Soldier’ starts off rather nice, with a technical prog riff, showing their musical prowess off, proving they are (and never were) just a hair metal band, with Morgensteins drumming driving the whole song forward and is probably one of the highlights for me personally.
‘Ever Wonder’ sees the guys get their laid back groove on, but after this BDC fails to set the very high standards of the first half. That said, its still good, but the first half was stunning!!
From the opening riff of album opener ‘Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine’ to the final outro lick of ‘Out Of This World,’ it is clear Winger is back and better than ever. Hard rocking songs like ‘Queen Babylon,’ progressive rock moments like ‘Tin Soldier,’ and touching ballads like ‘Ever Wonder’ display the band’s diversity while always centering on great songs. The debut single from ‘Better Days Comin’’ is the adrenaline fueled rocker ‘Rat Race’ that showcases some of the band’s best work of their 25 year career.
Better Days Comin’? On this evidence, abso-fuckin-lutely!
Score – 90/100
Europe – April 18th
Tracklisting: Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine; Queen Babylon; Rat Race; Better Days Comin’; Tin Soldier; Ever Wonder; So Long China; Storm In Me; Be Who You Are, Now; Another Beautiful Day (*); Out Of This World.
Kip Winger – bass guitar, vocals
Reb Beach – guitars
Rod Morgenstein – drums
John Roth – guitars
VIDEO : Rat Race https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp57jqoKJ7E