Eleven years since their last studio album of self-penned material, the rock ‘n’ roll soap opera that is Aerosmith is back…and it sounds like they’ve never been away.
A lot has happened in those eleven years, but sadly very little of that has been music. A lacklustre covers album and a couple of teasing new tracks on their 2006 best of Devil’s Got A New Disguise is about as far as the hard rocking five-piece got with their music. Instead they’ve filled their time with arguments, stints in American Idol, arguments, rumours of vocalist Steven Tyler joining Led Zeppelin, arguments, solo projects, arguments, autobiographies, arguments, rehab and more arguments. Frankly it’s a miracle that this album has been made at all.
Music From Another Dimension isn’t quite as epic as the title would have you believe, but make no mistake this record rocks! It’s exactly what you would expect from Aerosmith 2012 – channeling all the spirit of their twenty-year old selves from the ‘70s, but with the sparkle and polish of today’s production values.
For those looking for deep lyrics and witticisms, this album will come up short. But then Aerosmith have never been a band to indulge in such introspective nonsense. What this album does churn out by the bucket-load are riffs harder than a rock, grooves which walked right out of their ‘70s heyday, flares and all, and the kind of chorus hooks which the band pioneered all those years ago.
Oh Yeah and Beautiful are two of the album’s standout tracks with those hook-laden choruses rife throughout both tunes. Acoustic guitars are abound on Tell Me with soulful folksiness and What Could Have Been Love is the album’s lighter in the air moment which recalls just how developed the Aerosmith songwriting gene has become since the band’s ‘90s ‘ballad abuse’ years.
What is truly astonishing about this album is just how easily the band manage to roll back the years after so long since their last self-written album. Granted Steven Tyler’s face resembles a cave in a mountainside, and even guitarist Joe Perry is starting to age beneath his matted porch of hair (which is also starting to bear the marks of age), but there is no denying they both rock their socks off on this new record. Indeed, Perry’s guitar solos may be the best he has written, and whether you like Tyler or not, he still has the rasping wail of a banshee which few others could claim to own. The only drawback is the pop-art comic book cover sleeve which comes across as quite cheap, and at an hour and eight minutes the record is perhaps a little overlong. But this can be forgiven when it’s great to see a band of this calibre back at the top of their game after so long in the media spotlight for other distractions.