Black Roses, the latest from Aurora, Illinois’s Painkiller Hotel is a study in how to do a lot of things right. They’ve got a great, interpretation-heavy name. And judging by the back cover, they’ve got that simple, weary rock star look down to the finely crumbled tuxedo. But most of all, they’ve got punchy tunes that pick up where so many radio-friendly bands fell off in the late 90’s. It may not be the most original, sonically charged stuff out there, but when it comes to adult-rock, Painkiller Hotel ought to keep taking whatever it is they have been.
Opening with the lament-heavy and crunching “How Was I Supposed To Know?” Black Roses presents heavy production at the hands Chris Sevier. Fortunately, Sevier’s production only enhances Painkiller Hotel’s immediately accessible rock and roll. There are shades of 90’s legends such as Live and Matchbox 20 littered throughout Black Roses; lead singer Kevin Presby even goes so far as to successfully replicate the trademark country-rock croon of Rob Thomas on “Voice In My Head” with surprising efficiency.
And yet, Painkiller Hotel manages to get one more thing right: how to sound completely unoriginal. Black Roses is the kind of record that gets thrown on at a party and quickly, a passerby names off a handful of bands he or she believes the band to be. Yet there will always be more room for records like Black Roses and their stetching, sing-a-long numbers like “All I Ever Wanted.”
Let it be known; the guitar-driven rock on Black Roses is instantly gratifying. It’s perfect in that record. One can only wonder if Black Roses will disappear just as perfectly.
By Joshua Kloke[Rating: 2/5]