ALDO NOVA – Blood on the Bricks (1991 Polygram)
After Aldo’s career had been declared clinically dead and Aldo himself a “one hit wonder” (“Fantasy”), it took the mighty Jon Bon Jovi to resurrect him. JBJ, who co-produces and co-writes pretty much every song here, has a heavy stamp on this album. Considering that Aldo played on several Jon Bon Jovi releases, this album will appeal mostly to fans of the Well-Coifed One.
The problem with Blood On The Bricks is not lack of decent material, or lack of chops. Indeed, Aldo proves on several tracks that he is a burnin’ axeman, and he even takes a brief keyboard solo on “Bright Lights”. The problem here is that this album is choked to death in overproduction, and I have to blame JBJ for that. Every song collapses under its own weight of gang “whoa whoa” backing vocals, shrill instruments, and thudding shapeless drums with all the characteristic telltale signs of samples.
A song like “Medicine Man”, for example, is a decent if generic song on its own. However it stumbles under the weight of layers of backing vocals and overdubs. The production has spoiled this batch of pleasant if ordinary rock toons. This type of production value was way too common in 1991. Play Prisoners in Paradise by Europe, or Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper for an idea of this sonic quality. Aldo’s album is recorded and mixed even worse than the afforementioned. And the lyrics are pretty juvenile. “His boom-box blastin’ some Metallica track”? Did Aldo really sing that?
Song highlights for me incluced the burning title track, “Bright Lights”, and nostalgic moments like “Touch Of Madness”, “Young Love” or “Medicine Man”. However aside from the guitar playing everything here is terribly generic; there’s nothing here that you haven’t heard before. For example, “Veronica’s Song” boils down to a rewrite of Bon Jovi’s “Silent Night”, and that makes me sad.
Two more Bon Jovi connections to mention: the great Kenny Aranoff, whom Jon likes to use on his solo projects such as Blaze of Glory, plays drums. Phil X is pictured in the CD booklet as he was in Aldo’s touring band, but he does not play on Blood on the Bricks. Phil X, known to his friends as Phil Xenedis, is currently on the road with Bon Jovi, filling in for Richie Sambora.
I do like the original cover, it was cool if a bit bland. This edition has an annoying “FEATURING JON BON JOVI” scrawled all over it, as large as the album title. That also makes me sad.