Album Review: XYZ, "Hunger"

"Every night is Saturday night for us, and hungary is what we are. It's one guitar, one voice, drums, bass, skin, bones, rock n'roll," says XYZ bassist Patt Fontaine, referring to the band's second LP offering. Big words indeed from a band whose previous main claims to fame have been a vocalist often compared to DON DOKKEN, who, co-incidentally, produced their self-titled 1989 debut! Anyway, let's have a listen and see if they can produce the goods this time...

Hungry has been produced by George Tutko, and contains eleven original tracks penned by the band, and a cover of FREE's Fire And Water. Side one kicks off with Face Down In The Gutter, built around a very George Lynch-ish riff and inspired by the band's drummer, Paul Monroe, who ended up in a horizontal position at a party, having indulged himself just a little too much at the bar!!!

This song sets the mood and feel for the remainder of the album; a big bass, guitar and drums sound with catchy riffs, and sing-a-long choruses. It's rock n' roll party time, and XYZ are here for the duration!

Throughout the album guitarist Marc Diglio leads the band with an impressive display of both heavy riff work, and intense, screeching solos; and his efforts on Fire And Water and When The Night Comes Down are particularly outstanding, as they show he is capable of speed, technique, and control at the same time. The band have rearranged the FREE classic to suit their own style, but it actually works quite well, and can stand proudly as a tribute to the original. When The Night Comes Down sounds like it could be an out-take from a DOKKEN album session just going by the title alone, and, if you didn't know any better, you'd swear it was Don, George, and the boys in happier, pre-split days!

In fact that's the only criticism of this album that springs to mind; there's nothing that makes it uniquely XYZ. The songs are strong; the musicianship's excellent; and the production brings out the best in the band, but it's not enough. If XYZ want to find themselves up there with the big guns they're going to have to do something just a little bit different, a little bit more XYZ. Maybe next time?  
Grade C

Nick Douglas

Riff Raff
October, 1991

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