The great Finnish band, often called ‘glam-punk’, Hanoi Rocks are at last releasing a remixed version of their defining second album, Oriental Beat (40th Anniversary Edition: The Re(a)l Mix). The original issue back in 1982 was successful and highly regarded but suffered from a poor final mix that muddied the whole thing and has been a constant source of frustration for many of the band members. It’s taken this long to revisit, as the original multi-track tapes were presumed lost. However, now they’ve been found and we can finally listen from a fresh perspective to the ode to breaking the law (‘No Law or Order’) and troublesome teenagers (‘Teenangels Outsiders’). We even get increased clarity on the backing vocals provided by Katrina Leskanich, of Katrina and the Waves fame, on ‘Don’t Follow Me’.
The standouts remain the same: the Blondie overtones on ‘Lightnin’ Bar Blues’ but with the Monroe bite; the harmonica-led blues/rock of ‘Devil Woman’; the Clashy and classy ‘Motorvatin’ all sound much, much better.
So, if you already have this album, you need this remixed version to appreciate again the music and gain a new appreciation of the clever construction and execution of the songs. If you don’t know Hanoi Rocks this is the ideal place to start before you buy the rest of their catalogue and Michael Monroe’s solo stuff: his Not Fakin’ It album (yes, it is the Nazareth song) is an absolute treat.
Their style of ‘glam-punk’ has many other influences and styles flowing through it and is packed with the band’s sense of fun and humour shining anew, thanks to the production issues finally being corrected.
Oriental Beat is out on 17th March via Svart Records