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Vains of Jenna - "The Art Of Telling Lies" (CD)

Vains of Jenna - "The Art Of Telling Lies" CD cover image

"The Art Of Telling Lies" track listing:

1. Everybody Loves You When You're Dead
2. Mind Pollution
3. Refugee
4. I Belong To Yesterday
5. Paper Heart
6. Get It On
7. Enemy In Me
8. Better Off Alone
9. I Don't Care
10. The Art Of Telling Lies

Reviewed by on October 29, 2009

"The truth about Vains Of Jenna's 'The Art Of Telling Lies' is that it's a good glam metal record, owing a definite debt to GNR, Crue and all the other heyday of hair metal bands of the 1980s. "

When the grunge revolution of the early 1990s killed off the Los Angeles hair and sleaze metal scene, it was a mercy killing. By the time of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, the hair band scene had grown bloated and embarrassing, with bands singing tender love ballads on MTV and abandoning the raw, bluesy style that had propelled that genre to the top of the metal heap.

It's little wonder that it has taken so long for glam metal to make any kind of return to prominence. It's also not too surprising that very few bands (Buckcherry comes to mind) have had a lot of success — mainstream or otherwise — emulating guys like Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses. Add Sweden's Vains Of Jenna to the lineup of glam metal guys who got it right with their latest album, "The Art Of Telling Lies."

The album starts out with the superb "Everybody Loves You When You're Dead," which successfully takes you right back to the days when the Sunset Strip was the center of the metal scene. Singer and rhythm guitarist Lizzy DeVine sings in a scream that recalls both Vince Neil and Axl Rose. Guitarist Nicki Kin hammers out the sweetest solo this side of Slash and it's the mid-1980s all over again.

On "Mind Pollution," the band merges Poison-like vocals with a grinding GNR riff to good effect. The band's obviously done its homework — and a relocation from Sweden to Los Angeles likely helped quite a bit.

Though they do come within a hair's breadth of sounding like a nostalgia act, Vains Of Jenna manage to keep things moderately modern by infusing songs like "I Belong To Yesterday" and "Enemy In Me" with the skate punk sounds favored by the "Jackass" crowd (not surprising since Bam Margera signed them to his record label).

On the negative side, the band's cover of Tom Petty's "Refugee" misses the mark with DeVine's gravelly glam vocals seeming out of place given that the arrangement just slightly rocks up the original. Kin does manage to get in some tasty licks in the solos though.

I'm also not a big fan of the ballad "Better Off Alone," which just robs the album of momentum at the end. It might be more of a sequencing issue, because the song's followed by the funky "I Don't Care" and the mostly speedy (when it's not being orchestral) title track "The Art Of Telling Lies."

The truth about Vains Of Jenna's "The Art Of Telling Lies" is that it's a good glam metal record, owing a definite debt to GNR, Crue and all the other heyday of hair metal bands of the 1980s. Crank it up, roll your window down and cruise your local Sunset Strip like it's 1987 all over again.

Highs: The superb opener "Everybody Loves You When You're Dead;" the punky "Enemy In Me" and "I Belong To Yesterday."

Lows: Sub par Tom Petty cover "Refugee" and the ballad "Better Off Alone."

Bottom line: Call it hair metal; call it glam metal; call it sleaze metal — I call it good metal with a 1980s Sunset Strip feel.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)