alice cooper - killer

Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)

(Yeah, we’re out of sequence but I recently picked this up at the record shop and needed a Beatles break, so even though the As are done here’s a welcome diversion) 

I grew up knowing about Alice Cooper rather than listening to Alice Cooper.  You couldn’t get away from that visage, the Welcome to My Nightmare look that’s been a staple of the man/the band for so many decades now.  But behind the paint and the Grand Guignol theatrics has always lay a band that could rock with the best of them and Killer demonstrates how versatile the entity that was/is Alice Cooper could be.

Everything to know about Killer can be summed up in Lester Bangs’s great review for Rolling Stone, conveniently linked here.  But I wanted to quote one piece from it, as it concisely sums up my own views:

“It brings all the elements of the band’s approach to sound and texture to a totally integrated pinnacle that fulfills all the promise of their erratic first two albums, and beats Love It To Death’s dalliance with Thirties flick “spooky” cornball riffs by the sheer sustained impact of its primal rock and roll jolt.”

Each track brings its own pomp and excitement, from the swagger boogie of “Under My Wheels” to the epic and diabolical “Halo of Flies.”  The band is telepathic in their tightness, that vibe that only comes with so much touring, and the way they can light up straight up rock/pop hits like “Be My Lover” and “You Drive Me Nervous” is just as impressive as when they dig deep on the aforementioned “Halo” as well as the gripping narrative of “Desperado.”  They can still come back to retro-50s rock as they do on “Yeah Yeah Yeah” (taking an approach KISS would mine to gold a few years later) and then slide nicely into the dark and hilariously titled “Dead Babies.”

In the end it’s all in the name of rock and roll, and for all their shock, the primary thing that comes out of Killer is the amount of fun the band is having.

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