• Emil

In Retrospective ...

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

WHITE LION – “Mane Attraction” (1991), Atlantic Records

WHITE LION’s classic lineup (Mike Tramp – vocal, Vito Bratta – guitars/backing vocals, James LoMenzo – bass/backing vocals & Greg D’Angelo – drums) gave the rock and metal fans worldwide, three absolutely solid albums between 1987 and 1991: “Pride”(1987), “Big Game” (1989) and “Mane Attraction” (1991). Some may say: “wait a moment: what about Fight To Survive?” While James and Greg were credited, they did not perform on the band’s debut album, which was recorded prior to them joining. Perhaps the most underrated album in the band’s history, “Mane Attraction”, the last to feature the classic lineup: shortly after it’s release (April 2, 1991), Greg and James left the band. Mike and Vito took on a brief album support tour, with Tommy Caradonna (bass) and Jimmy DeGrasso (drums). The band folded in September of 1991, after a final show in Boston.

Between 1999 and 2013 Mike Tramp attempted to revive the band: releasing some new and rerecorded material, and touring. However, without the classic lineup’s band members participation. All the classic lineup members of the band continue orbiting in music, with the exception of Vito Bratta, whom, for personal reasons, permanently retired from the music scene in 1992, at the peak of his guitar playing and song writing career. A great loss for the rock and metal world …

All twelve songs on “Mane Attraction” were written by Mike Tramp and Vito Bratta during the last two years prior to album’s release. Stylistically, the over sixty-three minutes of music on the album is a strong mix of guitar hooks oriented melodic hard rock (glam metal), with a few tastefully crafted ballads well placed within the album‘s flow. Thematically, the compositions were a continuation of the previous albums: political and social issues, anti-war, relationships, love and breakup. The album also contained White Lion’s only instrumental song, “Blue Monday”, a beautiful blues tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, who had died while the band was writing for the album. Four singles were released in 1991 from the album: “Love Don’t Come Easy”, “Broken Heart (‘91)”, “Light and Thunder” and “Out with the Boys” (rare promo single). Despite reaching #61 in the US Billboard 200 (the previous two albums both reaching top 20), and #31 in the UK charts, the album received little to no airplay, due to the arrival of Grunge. I’d have to say that the album was well received by the fans at the time of release, but unfortunately remained vastly overlooked by the masses of music fans. “Mane Attraction” was produced by the industry’s veteran, Ritchie Zito, credited with productions for: Joe Cocker, Cheap Trick, Bad English, Heart, Tyketto, Cher, The Cult, Poison, Ratt, Mr. Big, among many others. This great production remains relevant to this day, while offering smart and sensible lyrics and outstanding musical compositions, where Vito’s masterful playing fluidity and guitar tone, shines thru.

The genre enthusiast should also seek the 2004 released, limited edition, 500 copies – 6CD, boxset entitled “The Bootleg Series”, containing an entire CD of demos and preproduction tracks, under the title “Mane Attraction Start To Finish”.

Trivia: the album’s ballad tracks “You’re All I Need” and “Till Death Do Us Part” gained a huge amount of airplay in the Philippines. Not coincidentally, these two love ballads remained on the global wedding playlists ever since.

Originally published on Blessed Altar Zine.

© 2018 by Emil Chiru

#WhiteLion #InRetrospective #review #USA


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