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[The Epics] Alice Cooper: Killer

By Jayaprakash Satyamurthy | February 13, 2007

Split Magazine: Alice CooperIn the beginning, Alice Cooper was a rough and ready rock band that persuaded their singer, Vincent Furnier, to adopt the group name as his stage handle, and combined his theatrical sense with some anthemic garage rock to create some of the coolest glam-rock albums this side of T.Rex and David Bowie. Their strengths — energetic and simple-yet-effective songwriting, with touches of greater ambition, never-virtuosic but very hearfelt musicianship and Alice’s comic-booky, horror-influenced imagination and wit are all on display to full effect on ‘Killers’, the band’s fourth album and possibly their finest hour.

The centerpiece of the album is the hilarious and riffy epic “Halo Of Flies”. It’s a little over eight minutes long and is packed with simple but inventive riffing, and Alice singing about being a top international secret agent. It’s awesome stuff, and if a lot of it can seem funny at times, the passion and raw inspiration of the musicianship here is nothing to scoff at. Among the shorter rockers, “Under My Wheels” is a great piece of teenage thematics and a catchy sing-along with a nice sprinkling of horns at just the right places, while “Desperado” is a suitably moody character-piece, with Cooper mythologising himself and being incredibly anthemic and free with the vocal hooks. Another epic, the title track manages to be quite sombre and haunting within the contexts of an album that you can’t actually take too seriously (in the best sense of it — good music doesn’t always need to be weighty music, no matter what the more politically minded will proclaim). “Be My Lover”, “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and “You Make Me Nervous” are more minor, but they’re all great little garage rock nuggets with a mood and hooks that pull you right in. “Dead Babies” is an early example of several over-the-top, melodramatic songs in which Cooper indulges in his relish for the morbid, but it’s actually a rather plaintive ode to infant victims of parental neglect if you bother to listen to it rather than react to the image of the artist or his admittedly repulsive stage act for the song.

Between the dirty rockers and the grimy epics there’s no real bummers on this sleazy, shlocky little platter of classic glam affront. Surprisingly tasteful and ambitious without compromising its humble strengths — start here, instead of with Alice Cooper’s dreadful hair-metal excesses of the ’80s.

Comments

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  1. February 14, 2007, 7:44 pm steve

    If this was their finest hour then “schools out ” must have been at least 10 hours. Listen up.

  2. February 15, 2007, 3:20 pm JP

    I agree that School’s Out is fantastic – think it’s more dominated by Alice Cooper, though, while the band is defiitely a major driving force here. I literally meant that this was the finest hour for Alice Cooper the early band as a whole, that’s all. Hope that clarifies things (although of course my point is debatable as well).

  3. February 17, 2007, 5:28 am myles

    i remember listening to this album when i was 12 it was my 1st glance into hard rock. its classic alice at his best love it to death the album before this one is also a classic. alice cooper is one of my favorite bands and im talking about his old band they were tight. i seen billion dollar babies tour 1974 its still the best show ive ever seen and i ve seen many. halo of flies is still one of the best songs ive ever heard. i have every album he has ever made even the old ones pretties for you and easy action. he is the pioneer of glam makeup rock and always will be rock on alice.

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