Great styles never die. And neither do the '80s, apparently. Is that really such a bad thing, though? Glendale-based band Cry Wolf sure doesn't think so. Cry Wolf was a mid-'80s rock staple here on the West Coast, but was best known for the 1990 album "Crunch." Twenty years later, they've finally released a follow up, "Twenty Ten," and are bringing their explosive sound with them.
"Twenty Ten" has all the gritty, dynamic power you would expect to hear from a group of hard rockers in the late '80s and early '90s. What sets the album — and the band — apart from others of that era, though, is the dark, soulful sound it creates, propagated mainly by lead singer Tim Hall. Cry Wolf has a different vibe altogether. Don't expect to see big hair, tons of makeup and neon leather pants at a Cry Wolf concert. You'll be disappointed, too, if you're the kind of fan that likes their '80s acts screeching in a near-inaudible falsetto. Cry Wolf is much more Soundgarden than Twisted Sister, more Pearl Jam than Poison.
The Decade of Decadence seems to be making a resurgence of late, and all of the questionable fashion and music choices from that era have been coming back as well. Bret Michaels and similar acts have even begun touring again. Tommy Lee is reported to be working on yet another solo album. Cry Wolf is a sobering example of the fact that there are rock alternatives to Mötley Crüe and the like.
Now, Cry Wolf may not be for everyone. They're an edgy, powerful rock group whose songs call back to a sound and time long past. Some of the tunes on "Twenty Ten" are catchy in their own special kind of commanding force, but none of these songs would ever cross over to the pop stations like the super ballads and rock hits of the '80s. With Cry Wolf, you get what you pay for — a dark, gritty sound with pounding drums and rugged vocals. They may be out of the '80s, but not the decade that most people remember.
Brian McGackin is an alumnus of USC's graduate creative writing program, where he focused on poetry and literary critical analysis.
Who: Hard rock band Cry Wolf
What: "Twenty Ten," their first new album since 1990
Where: Available for purchase through the band's website, crywolftheband.com