Spread Eagle - Subway to the Stars

Spread Eagle Subway to the Stars cover
Spread Eagle
Subway to the Stars
Frontiers Music srl
2019
6.5
Spread Eagle are an edgy streetwise band from NY (actually moved there). They signed on to MCA and released a couple of albums, but coming out at the tail end of the 80s and debuting in the 90s, meant that they got caught in the whole “grunge” craze and they took a break in 1995, after touring their second album, a break that extended over a decade with the band part reuniting in 2006 and remaining active since, but with only singer Ray West and bassist Rob De Luca, from the original line up. They did get different lineups together in order to tour, including people like John Macaluso (TNT) and Chris Caffery (Savatage, TSO), but since 2012 they also got a pretty solid line up. Rob De Luca toured with UFO, Sebastian Bach etc.
 
A couple of years ago they were contracted about doing a new album and almost two years later and twenty six, since their last outing, a new album “Subway to the Stars” is a reality… problem is, that gone are the razor sharp riffs of Paul DiBartolo and in its place, there’s a more modern approach by new guitarist Ziv Shalev. But if somehow the style wasn’t affected… I wouldn’t mind… but the band’s current sound is a far cry from the kind of decadent glam that seemed to subscribe to the school of Hanoi Rocks, Vain and Britny Fox. Instead we’re treated to a moody modern rock album, with diminished angst, but a very grungy and melancholic sound that’s hardly ever reminiscent of what the band sounded like back in the day, I mean initially they try to play fast and loud and as loose as the style would allow em, but it’s not quite the same and unless you are a completist, getting this album because you liked the first would be a mistake.
 
The first three songs sound almost interchangeable, which is not that great, but the single “Sound of Speed” somewhat prevails with its manic riffing and cool solo, despite the vocals being, for a lack of another word, different.
 
“Dead Air” sounds a little Cornelian, in a good way.
 
“Grand Scam” is a spiritual offspring of its makers, it’s faster still and as raw as it could be – bar a certain verse, but overall it’s not “Spread Eagle” of old. It’s however a decent effort to update the band’s sound to the new millennium. Edgy enough.
 
“More Wolf Than Lamb” combines the 80s sensitivities of its makers with the 90s heaviness, resulting in another more exaggerated Cornellian soundscape.
 
“Cut Through” does almost the same, but is a little funkier and mellower.
 
“Little Serpentina” sound like Nirvana, if they were a better band and it is probably most interesting than half their discography, but I’m not sure if that’s what the colorful spandex wearing balding middle aged poser/glam fan would like to hear… I like it however!
 
“Antisocial Butterfly” has an ingenious title, a nice vibe and even and interesting chorus that tiptoes perfectly between then and now.
 
“Gutter Rhymes for Valentines” is a more involved track that works on this album – marginally, but would have never in a million years worked in the bands works of old. Like the lead melodies a lot.
 
“Solitaire” is a ballad that obviously is laid back and has a more traditional 80s vibe, which is somewhat what fans might have wanted, but feels a little out of place here.
 
Not a terrible album, but vastly different to the band’s past, to the point that it might turn off a lot of the more traditional fans of the band. There are 2-3 songs I like, regardless, but I have a hard time recommending this, especially to the old school fans of the band.