Handsome Devil
"Knock Yourself Out"

(Diablo Guapo Corporate Recordings 2003)Handsome Devil - Knock Yourself Out

On their debut album, Handsome Devil promised "love and kisses." Now, on their sophomore release they want to "knock you out." The band, formerly under the wings of SoCal pop rock band Lit, seem to have mixed one part learned from their mentors with two parts of their own blend. But while "Knock Yourself Out" tries to put its best foot forward, it comes across as relatively safe.

Power guitar chords lead "Hello Somebody," a mid tempo and poppy song that opens the album. Melodic, syncopated riffs offer texture on "All Right" before the gentler "Running" where singer and guitarist Danny Walker's vocals could offer more enthusiasm. Handsome Devil further explore their soft side with "Angels on High," a slow power ballad. Fast and grittier, "New Thing" shows more of the band's style, aggressive pop punk, despite a less than stellar chorus ("I know you, you know me/It's all good. Oh! Yeah!")

With a familiar edge and a focused sound, "Liquor Store" is a more intense and memorable track. An ode to a girl, "Bette Davis Eyes," a Kim Carnes cover, remembers the pin-up legend with a slow, poppy sound, accented by melodic vocals and a chorus of driving riffs. Rhythmic and instrumentally engaging, Handsome Devil have something catchy with "Devil In You" while the overly poppy "What You See" is guitar driven. The album's closing track, "Games" is on the heavier side of the power pop spectrum with gritty guitar blending well with Walker's melodic vocals.

While Handsome Devil has their general sound down, they still have some more refining to do. With notable guitar solos and pounding drums, they show they have the instrumental skills they need.

C+

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