Review Summary: Tyketto return with their original line up in tow to release a stellar album for AOR and early 90’s rock fans around the world. Sounding as if they found a time machine back to 1991 the band puts out a devastatingly brilliant release.
The music scene was an odd place back in the early 90’s. The earthy stripped down tones of grunge were finding their way into the mainstream and the over indulgent, alcoholic mess called glam was being taken out back to be put out of its misery. So what was a hard rock band to do? You had veteran acts like Poison that tried to embrace some form of alternative sound (ala Native Tongue) or others like Skid Row that tried a harder angle. Sadly, lost in that shuffle were many outstanding releases of quality, album oriented rock. Tyketto released Don’t Come Easy in 1991 and after some mild success were quickly shuffled off into the bargain bin with a pile of other rock bands. It is sad really, as Danny Vaughn and company really put together an excellent album. If you haven’t heard it yet you should take the time to download (the release was quite rare and expensive to find on the secondary market) or seek it out somewhere. It will serve as a great primer for what you are about to experience.
I was surprised when I received word that the original Tyketto lineup was not only back touring, but planning on releasing a new album. For years, many rock acts from the time period have continued on, releasing sub-par offerings every few years (I’m looking at you Danger Danger!). I was reticent to purchase anything from a band that hasn’t had a quality release in over twenty years. Still, Don’t Come Easy was one of those CD’s that I could put on, no matter what mood I was in, and listen from front to back. I was blown away after the first 2 minutes of listening to Dig In Deep. The initial blast of the first track Faithless almost sounded odd to me. It had been so long that I’ve heard a song played in standard tuning that I had almost forgotten what it sounded like. Once the vocals kicked in, the smile could not be wiped from my face. Danny Vaughn has a tone that was build for radio friendly rock. I find it hard to compare him to anyone, take bits of David Coverdale, Bon Jovi and Gary Cherone and add just a little bit of a harder edge and you may come close. Excepting the first track (which is the heaviest on the album) the tone is pure guitar rock. Many of the songs are framed with excellent acoustic work and then layered with a more distorted tone. Guitarist Brook St. James has chops enough to keep up with any of the 80’s guitar heroes (listen to the opening solo to The Fight Left in Me). Equal portions of hard rock and blues blend masterfully into a performance that shouldn’t be missed. The rhythm section of Jimi Kennedy (bass), Michael Clayton (drums) and the addition of keyboardist Bobby Lynch serve as a constant reminder of what skilled musicians can do best. They set the stage for the excellent guitar work and songwriting, but are present enough not to fade into the background entirely.
Dig In Deep is an experience that most people have not had. You can press play on track one and the next thing you know the album is finishing up with the bitter sweet and aptly named track This Is How We Say Goodbye
. Certainly, this is not a perfect release, some of the song, while individual in their lyrical content and solos start to run together using a similar structure. While the overall sound of the music is excellent there are some tracks that suffer from over-production. The title track is the worst offender in this regards as it features excessive use of layered, heavily produced vocal harmony. That is no reason to pass this one up though. I would recommend the track Monday
as a great starting point, it’s a catchy mid tempo song that is reminiscent of Butch Walker in its catchiness. This is a great release that people should take a moment to listen to. It’s sad that in the music scene we have today, this will be overlooked once again. Still, I will be happy adding another album to my collection that I can unabashedly play on repeat over and over and over and over……