Trixie - Shelter
Metal Mayhem Music
Hard Rock/80s Rock
12 songs (41:03)
Release year: 2006
Trixie, Metal Mayhem Music
Reviewed by Ken

I've been a fan of 80s rock since my early teens, and I've seen countless bands that were making music during that era try to reproduce that style in the 90s and 00s with less-than-stellar results; most fail miserably. Ronnie Borchert, Trixie founder and main songwriter, does not try to recreate that style with a modern rock mindset—which is what plagues most of those aforementioned bands. Borchert, instead, is still writing from an 80s perspective, without shame, and with passion for a great style of music—and he’s doing it with amazing results! As other one-time rock legends now seem ashamed to embrace that which made them great or are too busy trying to write music not close to their heart, Borchert is proudly, fearlessly, taking Trixie on a stroll down memory lane (more commonly known as the Sunset Strip circa 1986).

Trixie’s roots can be traced back to the late Eighties when the fledgling band, fronted by the singer-songwriter-producer Borchert, signed to Core Atlantic and recorded what was to be their debut release. Unfortunately the album was shelved in place of releasing Wild Horses’ debut, Bareback. (Wild Horses featured Rick Stier and James Kottak, former members of Kingdom Come’s second incarnation, and Jeff Pilson (as a studio musician only) of Dokken.)

Trixie would break up shortly thereafter.

In 2003 Metal Mayhem Music released Trixie’s once ill-fated, thirteen-year-old self-titled debut. The recordings of that debut have suffered over time with a bit of tape “warble” and “hiss,” but the album is great even with those sound issues; a lost gem of the 80s, indeed. I’m not certain whether the release of that long-lost debut prompted Borchert to resurrect the band or vice versa, or something in between, but two years later Borchert was back with Trixie and a killer sophomore album, Lift You Up. This is the album that I first heard, one that blew me away with its unabashed indulgence in anthemic hard rock.

Earlier this year saw the release of Trixie’s outstanding third release, Shelter. If this album—if any Trixie album, for that matter—came out in 1986 we'd consider Trixie to be a classic 80s rock band today. They’re that good. To put the vocals and music into perspective, think of a snarling, alcohol-fueled Vince Neil singing for mid-period Def Leppard (Pyromania, Hysteria) channeling a little bit of Cinderella’s post Night Songs material. That's Trixie.

Shelter begins big with a double-dose of “Hell Yeah” and “Day And Night,” both unmistakable rock monsters, the likes you’ve not heard for nearly twenty years: catchy riffs, great vocals/melodies, killer solos, and unforgettable choruses! “New Orleans Rain,” a slight blues-based rocker, not unlike early Aerosmith, follows; and while it’s a different approach, it equally matches the excellence of the first two tracks. The brilliant semi-ballad “Lookin' For Love” reminds me of Tesla's “Changes” (from Mechanical Resonance) with Def Leppard’s harmonizing in “Tonight” (from Adrenalize). The song is easily my favorite on the album. “Swimsuit” is a catchy-as-hell, cheese-ball rock anthem, while “Inside Of Me” and “You That I’m Wantin’” are vintage rockers of the highest quality. “Just Walk Away” is a driving 80s metal beast, fast, frenetic, fantastic. The remaining songs are all excellent and catchy rock jams, with only “Stay,” a slow, mellow rocker, being a bit out in left field. But it’s the way the album ends that seals the deal on Shelter.

Deserving of its own paragraph, Shelter closes with yet another ode to Def Leppard (this one a bit more direct): a killer cover of their early classic “Wasted” (from On Through The Night). Def Leppard have been my all-time favorite band from the moment I heard my mother playing Pyromania back around 1985, or so. Two years after that I was sitting outside the record store waiting for it to open, giddy with the anticipation of buying my very first album: Def Leppard’s Hysteria—an album I still own, the very same. Since that time I’ve heard a lot of Def Leppard covers—Mariah Carey’s total obliteration of “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” and Quiet Riot vocalist Kevin DuBrow’s industrial molestation of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” both pain me to this day. A few notable covers include the excellent, soulful piano version of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by the beautiful Emm Gryner, most of the songs on Tributized—a tribute album featuring unknown bands—especially the Eric Knight Band’s cover of “Foolin’.” Skylark did a good cover of “When Love & Hate Collide,” and Seven Witches recorded a decent cover of “Wasted” themselves. But Borchert has easily recorded the best Lep cover I've ever heard, even if a few lyrical and musical liberties were taken! And I'm very cynical when it comes to Lep covers as most have sucked—hard! (Don’t even get me started on the recent “hip hop” Def Leppard tribute album.) Borchert, however, does this classic justice, and it’s because of a simple ingredient most would-be cover artists lack: passion. Plain and simple. Borchert loves this shit! He’s not ashamed; and it shows.

The production on Shelter is perfect; there is no down-tuning so you’re not going to get a massive bottom end, but the tones are crystal clear and fit the music, and the huge, soaring choruses—the wall-of-vocals—are a clear nod to the great Robert John “Mutt” Lange. If you're a fan of the 80s rock greats, give Trixie a try. You won’t find much in the department of originality, but you also won't be disappointed; the latter clearly being far more important. Of course, though it’s been done in the past, one could consider it quite original for someone to be writing and recording music that very few have the balls to do these days. And because of that, Ronnie Borchert has quickly become one of my favorite rock songwriters over the past year or two, and justifiably so. Shelter rocks!

AUDIO: Day And Night, Hell Yeah!, Escape (taken from Lift You Up) and I'll Take You (taken from Trixie)

BORCHERT RELATED: Amsterdam – Not The Only One (taken from B.U.R.S.T.), Miss Crazy – So Long (taken from Miss Crazy), Miss Crazy – Hide Island (taken from Miss Crazy) and Ronnie Borchert – My Malena (taken from Ronnie, due in 2007)

Killing Songs :
Day And Night, Just Walk Away, New Oreleans Rain, Lookin' For Love and Wasted
Ken quoted 90 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 12 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:16 pm
View and Post comments