Tuesday, September 10, 2013

RECORD REVIEW: Coney Hatch "Four"


Along with such
contemporaries as 
Helix, Killer Dwarfs 
and Headpins — Coney 
Hatch defined Canadian 
hard rock in the '80s. 
And in 2013 the band 
returns with its first 
new record in nearly
three decades.  

Coney Hatch made a huge splash on the international hard rock scene when their self-titled debut album arrived in 1982 via Polygram Records. Produced by Max Webster frontman / guitarist Kim MitchellConey Hatch featured the stand-out tracks, "Devil's Deck," "Hey Operator" and "Monkey Bars" — catapulting the Canadian combo onto international tours with such chart-busting headliners as Judas PriestIron MaidenTed Nugent and Cheap Trick. Two more melodic, high-octane records followed — Outta Hand (1983) and Friction (1985). But relentless touring and critical acclaim did not equate into gold and platinum sales figures, and by 1986 Coney Hatch  had called it quits.

The 1982 debut record from Coney Hatch.
"The first Coney Hatch record
was a staple in my collection
 'Devil's Deck' and 'Monkey 
Bars' were played, rewound
and replayed enough to drive
my parents crazy." 
-Brent Jensen 
Rock Critic / Author
(No Sleep 'Til Sudbury Leftover People)

Coney Hatch circa 1982
In ensuing years, the members went on to play in various renown bands, including April Wine and The Guess Who, as well as releasing their own solo records. Following frontman / guitarist  Carl Dixon's near-fatal car accident in 2008, the original Coney Hatch line-up came together and began considering possibilities — resulting in a few recent one-off concert appearances. And in 2013, their full-blown reunion has come to pass with the release of Four, the first all-new Coney Hatch record in 28 years.

"We never thought it would 
happen but the stars aligned 
and hell froze over!"
-Andy Curran

Entitled Four, the new record arrives in stores and online via Frontiers Records on September 24th in North America and September 27th in Europe. And what makes the Coney Hatch reunion so unique and special is that it's the REAL band. Unlike so many of their contemporaries, the 2013 Coney Hatch line-up is their original line-up — including vocalist / guitarist Carl Dixon, vocalist / bassist Andy Curran, guitarist Steve Shelski and drummer Dave 'Thumper' Ketchum. 

"I know Coney fans are 
going to love this album."
-Dave Ketchum

Four kicks off with the high-energy video single, "Blown Away." And despite some rather 80's-era  lyrical cheese, it makes a bold statement — WE'RE CONEY HATCH. AND WE'RE BACK!

Other highlights  include "Boys Club" — a track that offers plenty of the band's signature-style, gritty  guitar work. While "Down & Dirty"  recreates their classic vibe, "Do It Again" and "We Want More" both possess a fresher-sounding edge. "Connected" and "Marseilles" are groove-oriented nuggets and ooze an AC/DC-like intensity. Finally, "The Devil U Know" is a textbook example of how a great rock track can (and should) be built around a great guitar riff.

"My personal objective 
was to not over think
the music and just let 
the creativity flow."
-Steve Shelski

Yes, after more than 30 years, 2013 finds Coney Hatch at the top of their game — both musically and vocally. In sum, Four serves as a mighty vehicle for a band that remains a powerful and authentic hard rock force.

-Christopher Long
(September 2013)

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