Aerosmith - Music from Another Dimension (Review)

There are more than a few resemblances between Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones, not the least of which is the mirrored presences of The Glitter Twins, Mick 'n Keef, and the Massachusetts Maniax, Steve 'n Joe. In both cases, you have a fairly moody glowering lead guitarist and a hyperkinetic liver-lipped singer doing their inimitable thing as the bands behind them crunch through heavysided rock 'n roll with identifiable bases in black blues (the Stones, of course, more so than 'Smith). Both bands have gone through ceaseless changes in tone and temperament, sometimes breaching on rocky shoals but usually in command. Aerosmith, though, with the release of their latest, Music from Another Dimension, and its return to the ancient of days in the ensemble's history, has been making the wiser choices. As with the Brit bad boyz, this has been chiefly attributable to the front man - in this case: Steve Tyler - and his ability to know when to roll with the times and then when to ride nostalgia waves and play to the fans yearning for golden eras.

For Aerosmith, this has meant recycling the initial brilliance the gents demonstrated in producing a highly wired baseline that was always well narrated, sonically lucid, emotionally punchy while mixed with elements of the outre, and melodically flowing…all of which have been nicely replicated in Dimension along with distinctive tangs picked up along the way. Why the hell the decision was made to go with mock movie poster art for the cover, though, I'll never know - Montrose tried it with their Warner Bros. Presents release ages ago, to the same puzzling effect, basically: "Wha the Fu…?" - but the days of album covers making sense are mostly long past, so we'll ignore that for the moment. What matters is that this latest CD very strongly echoes the founding threesome: Aerosmith, Get Your Wings, and Toys in the Attic, and, man, I wore out more than a few of those slabs and always had cassette versions ready to go for road trips back in the wild 70s.

In fact, "Out Go the Lights" is this release's "Walk This Way", updated significantly with an almost Grand Funk Railroad inspissation, and much of the album actually sounds like cutting room floor gems rescued from the days when Arthur and Lancelot held forth…okay, maybe not quite that historical but the vibe and playlines kick in a lot of great memories of times gone by and Boston's best. One must suspect not only that the miraculous presence of all five original members is quite responsible for the disc's strengths but also that inextinguishably infamous Hatfield/McCoy feuding between Steve and Joe. Them bad actors just have that weird tension that cats like Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey operated under and, well, we saw the miracles that kind of fighting produced too. Up until this very disc, the East Coast pair have never really ceased fussing and fighting and, if we're smart, we'll keep mum and let them go at it for another decade. 

"What Could have been Love" is another Aerosmith hi-energy ballad filled with overblown grandiosity that, in other hands, would've been bubblegum or slink-pop but here is exhilarating, followed by the bop intro of "Street Jesus" turning into a latterday "Toys in the Attic" number. There are, in fact, so many of the band's high holy days antecedents here that you're going to swear you're dreaming. That being the case, I say make sure you have your best stash of sleepy-time medicine nearby (nudge-nudge wink-wink) and take your time waking up. If you happen to have yer sweetie nearby, do a little of the 'twixt the sheets rhumba while you're at it. Aerosmith's always been good for hitting the hot button hijinx as well, 'n this ain't no exception.

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