New Jersey-based Ripped unleash their 13-track debut with both guns a blazin’. They are whiskey-soaked, guitar-fueled, bad-ass rock and roll that takes you on a musical journey through Skynyrd, Stones, Rick Derringer, UFO, Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. Assembling the talents of Steve Keller (guitar/vocals), Jack France (bass/vocals), Jeff Kelly (drums/vocals), Brian McGee (guitar), Steve Sroczynski (vocals) they create a full sound with echoes of classic ‘70s buried deep within each cut. From the start, it’s the guitars that draw you in. Like Angus and Malcolm or Perry and Whitford, these guys find their magic in the riff. The rip-shortin’ “You’ve Got To Change,” the boogie of “Sweet Addiction” and driving “My Friend Alice” pay tribute with a crosscut swagger and balls-out rhythm. They even tackle UFO’s “Lights Out” with gusto and determination (and a spot on solo) reminiscent of rock’s legendary glory days.
Vocalist Sroczynski has a gruff edge that pulls the most out of blues-edged “Little Girl At Home,” the title track “Ripped” and the more melodic “Swan.” His harmonies in “Including My Heart” and “Two Minutes Too Long” are right up there with Don Barnes or Donnie Van Zant of 38 Special. A surprise sneaks in with the Steve Miller-like “Faraway” casting a nice ‘60s vibe and allowing the record some breathing room. Our favorites come in the bass driven one-two-punch of “Freedom” and the modern edged “Blood On The Sand” both benefiting from Detroit punk elements and a twin guitar attack. The drumming on closer “Life’s Cruel” is absolutely killer. You can hear classic Iggy Pop reaching to get out. The group’s original compositions are strong, confident and memorable proving they can easily dance with the big boys. Pick up their disc at our favorite Jersey record shop, Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ as well as K-9 Kuts in Manahawkin, NJ or online from CDBaby.
Todd K Smith, Editor
(This review can be found in Issue 68)