"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Octane Gypsy - "Tough Luck Mile" (CD/EP)

Octane Gypsy - "Tough Luck Mile" CD/EP cover image

"Tough Luck Mile" track listing:

1. Save Me (3:51)
2. Double Shift (4:48)
3. Honky Tonk Women (2:51)
4. Rebel's Highway (4:15)

Reviewed by on July 22, 2009

"As far as demos go, 'Tough Luck Mile' is a good one, and offers a good sampling of Octane Gypsy’s potential."

Truly great raspy female vocalists are few and far between, but Octane Gypsy’s Eleanor Goldfield easily takes her place among greats like Janis Joplin, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. Her sometimes bluesy, sometimes nearly drunken sounding wails make for a great combo with the band’s overall southern rock appeal.

Octane Gypsy’s demo "Tough Luck Mile" is a self-produced album, and unfortunately the sound quality makes that quite obvious. In the same token, it’s a bit refreshing to hear a CD that still has that raw sound of a live band. And even though there were obviously no mixers or cleanup in the making of this album, there’s really only a bit of distortion in the first song, "Save Me."

Distortion aside, "Save Me" is truly a great southern rock song, and the upbeat tempo and Joan Jett vocals will have you going back in time to the days of pure, just plain fun hard rock. "Save Me" is hands down the gold star winner of the album.

The closer, "Rebel Highway," is also a good piece that will get you moving, but Goldfield’s vocals are just a bit too high for her to sound comfortable. Part of the appeal of sirens with her unique sound is their ability to croon, and the notes in "Rebel’s Highway" are too mid-range to achieve that same level of sultriness. Still, there’s a quite good, if short, guitar solo in this one to keep it going.

I will find fault with Octane Gypsy’s cover of the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." It’s bad enough that it just isn’t right to have a female singing this tune, despite her perfect drawl, but the tempo is too fast for those who know the tune and want to sing along. Changing things up would be alright if the band had taken the song and made it their own, but it’s just not enough different from the classic to say that.

They’re also guilty of sounding a bit too much like Guns n Roses' "Patience" in the intro of "Double Shift," but once they move into a folk style more reminiscent of Janis Joplin, the track becomes much better. Though Goldfield’s vocals de-evolve toward the end into something that sounds more like drunken blubbering, Janis fans will probably just love them even more. "Double Shift" may be quirky and folky, but it’s also fun.

As far as demos go, "Tough Luck Mile" is a good one, and offers a good sampling of Octane Gypsy’s potential. While I could have passed on the Stones’ cover, it definitely piqued my curiosity enough to want to hear more.

Highs: Great southern rock sound and raspy, raw female vocals.

Lows: The cover of "Honky Tonk Women" seems like a waste of time; I’d have rather heard one of Octane Gypsy’s own pieces.

Bottom line: A good sampler platter for southern rock fans, with a female vocalist who rivals greats like Janis Joplin and Joan Jett.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)