by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter
brings back thoughts of a band like Foreigner, who hired on a singer half
their age when Lou Gramm left the band. Or guys like Robert Plant, who
go solo with at least one member of his new band still being bottle fed.
Sometimes it's a bust, as it was for Foreigner, but other times there
is an injection of youthful fire that the veterans have just managed to
lose over the years. INXS has tried their hand at this to possibly breathe
new life into a band that was left deader than their former charismatic
front man, Michael Hutchence. With the help of a network reality based
program, similar to that "Idol" show, they got their young fireball
by way of Canadian J.D. Fortune. Now, half of this review is going to
revolve solely around this new young stud. I mean, c'mon, I think we're
all curious whether this boy can carry the burden of raising the dead.
For those of you that watched the Rock Star INXS program, you are well
aware of who Fortune is, and you may have even felt that his competition,
Chicago based singer Marty Casey, should've gotten the job; but for those
of you that actually have lives, let me explain this guy for you
Michael Hutchence Part 2.
Fortune lit up the Rock Star INXS stage with his original, "Pretty
Vegas," the wheels were set in motion. It came across as one of the
hottest INXS songs ever, even though he was just a homeless, out-of-work
Elvis impersonator at the time. With his deep, sly tone and his slinky
stage presence, it was like watching Hutchence being exhumed. The similarities
are uncanny throughout this record. By first hearing "Devil's Party,"
the lead off track of the album, you can't help but get a chill. In the
spirit of "Devil Inside," Fortune's tone and attitude are eerily
on target with the INXS of old. With Kirk Pengilly's sax stylishly blaring,
and Tim Farriss' familiar jangling guitar part backing Fortune's strong,
smooth and suave vocal, it's all just a little overwhelming. The band
was trying to add a spark and breathe new life, but this is a five alarm
blaze that oozes with all of the spirit of classic INXS material. Songs
like "Perfect Strangers," "Hungry," and "Us"
are all crafted in the same sensibility and are products of the vintage
formula. And, even though the sound is suspiciously similar to Hutchence's
work, it is not a cheap imitation. Fortune's tone is perfectly natural,
and his comfort level shines with every note.
It was a brilliant move on their part. The remaining members of INXS wanted some new, young blood in their frontman spot, and what better way than a network reality show to pick someone, right? But you see, a good idea doesn't always bring about a good end result dare I mention things like Styx's "Kilroy" concept or the Elton and Eminem duet? No, the boys in the band still had to pick the right person for the job, and that's always a tricky task. But rest assured, they got the right guy. As far as those of you who thought Chicagoan Marty Casey should've got the spot, I can tell you this it would've cost them a Fortune, and that's something they just couldn't afford to lose.