Handsome Devil
"Fully Automatic"

(Diablo Guapo Corporate Recordings 2006)Handsome Devil - Fully Automatic

SoCal modern rockers Handsome Devil have a dilemma that they address openly on "Fully Automatic," their third full-length release. The predicament is whether Handsome Devil are tattooed bad boys or sweet talking pop rockers. It is a question that never seems to be answered as the band regularly alternate between a hard rocking 80s hair metal inspired sound and a pop sound dominated by multi-part vocal harmonies and catchy choruses.

Lyrics do not seem to be Handsome Devil's strong point on "Fully Automatic." The band employs a nonsensical chorus of "we love all the pretty pictures/bitches and ho's" on the upbeat modern rock track "Pretty Pictures" while the chorus of the slow and heavy "I Can't Wait" is predictable and unimaginative. Clichéd 80s metal sex songs are relived in all their former glory on "Getting You Off" as Handsome Devil imagine the kind of sex they wish they had while before adding a decent guitar solo while the hard edged bad boy song "Guns" is little more than an anthem for the NRA.

Elsewhere on the album, the band is lighter with catchy hooks and choruses that are primed for humming and sing along status. On "Slow Down," the bouncy and sunny sound is aided by smoothly blended vocal harmonies while, similarly, "Stay" is upbeat and catchy. The poppiest of the sugary, syrupy pop, "Superfan" is bright power pop that contrasts from the pulse quickening and silly "No Way Jose."

Nearly a full decade after the 90s modern rock sound burst onto the scene, Handsome Devil are still stuck in the past and can not seem to make up their minds. While it is far from perfect, Handsome Devil can certainly play as the album is instrumentally tight throughout even if they spend too much time looking back instead of forward. But when it comes down to it, "Fully Automatic" is just another in a long line of albums that want to rock and roll all night and, well, you know the rest.

C-

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