The year is 2023 and I’m sat at home waiting for my Hanoi Rocks album to be delivered but with many things you simply have to wait and good things are worth waiting for and any original or should that be classic Hanoi Rocks album is well worth the wait.
I used to be a bit sceptical about bands doing a remaster or remix especially if its a classic album but as I’ve got older I’ve dug deep into some of my favourite records when they’ve had the overhaul treatment, especially some of those half speed jobs from Abbey Road and when I heard the difference Japans ‘Quiet Life’ had or some of the classic ‘Rolling Stones’ records sounding like a different album at times it can be a bit of a head fuck when they’re done well. What lowered my scepticism was hearing the Senseless Things overhaul of ‘The First Of Too Many’ and how much better the new version was compared to the muddy original I was converted and won over in one fell swoop and now I’d happily champion and shell out for a well-done remix/master which has brought us to this hallowed spot and the mighty, unparalleled, unrivalled Hanoi Rocks and this here Svart release of ‘Oriental Beat’.
Delays delays delays, I’ve put off reviewing this album and its re(al)mix but couldn’t wait any longer for my record to turn up so I’ve delved into the digital and sat back with my hands over my face as the virtual needle dropped and ‘Oriental Beat’ hit the ether and blew my fragile tiny mind. Wow, congratulations to Svart for doing something I didn’t think possible. ‘Oriental Beat’ sounds like an album that was released yesterday it’s got volume, punch, new clarity and moments I’d either forgotten about or were never listenable to the human ear. Sweet Baby Jesus! Hallalulija hark the herald angels sing. This is how Hanoi Rocks sound just listen to Sami Yaffa’s bass thumping its way through the title opening track it’s unbelievable. Truly a cut above and those BV’s are exceptional. I’ll admit it’s been a couple of years since I spun this album and when I heard it was being treated to an overhaul I wasn’t sure if Genius should be tampered with but on the evidence, Man I’m converted.
The strangest thing abou tthis version would be the track listing but dropping ‘Motorvatin’ deeper into the album is worth it because once you get your head around the sound the intro is a real highlight. The second Hanoi album saw them becomeing a real unique force sure they still leant on their heroes like the best song the Clash never wrote in ‘No Law No Order’ or the Mick n Keif locked in playing on the epic ‘Teenagels Outsiders’ where I think Monroe sounded amazing. Youthful exuberance and developing a unique style I think he’d really come into his own here and the saxophone use was and still is exceptional and I never understood why it wasn’t used more in punk rock when Hanoi used it it was brilliant as it was for bands like The Lords Of The New Church and Johnny Thunders but Hanoi were different, they used it best of all.
The groove and open-heart honesty of McCoys playing on ‘Sweet Home Suburbia’ is incredible the sustain is almost visual. I can’t express how much better this version is and once I get used to the track listing all will be well in the world and I will start to get on to whoever I have to to see if the master tapes for other albums are available for this sort of treatment. I don’t think I’m saying anything outrageous here but this album has only gone to cement how vital each member of the band was and how integral and truly amazing Yaffa was to the sound of the band. There are moments I haven’t fully appreciated before and some of the walking bass lines are majestic ‘Lightnin’ Bar Blues’ as is the harmonica of Monroe on ‘Devil Woman’. The band should be rightfully proud of this project its an emotional and exceptional piece of work that is an absolute must heart for any fan old or new it is worth every single penny and some. Special praise must also go to Petri Majuri for his input into this project and his exceptional work of drawing out the demons and replacing them with angels’ wings ‘Oriental Beat’ is already one of the best albums ever and is now even better – Buy this record!
Author: Dom Daley