LEBOCAT - FLO'S BARBERSHOP (2002, ALL CLASS RECORDS) Joey Cimino - lead vocals, drums
Jonathon Reyes - guitars
Martin 'Fat Cat' Morales - bass
Previously featured here at this website, Lebocat were previously known as The Tops, whose home base is San Jose, California. Drummer, vocalist and main songwriter Joey Cimino has been around for years, having played with the likes of Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad) and Eric Martin (Mr Big), the latter guesting on the track 'One On One' featured on the album. Cimino is ably assisted by Reyes and Morales, both excellent practitioners of their instruments, as well as being fellow veterans of the California scene. After receiving considerable acclaim as The Tops, the band decided to move with the times and change their name to something more contemporary. The music however is firmly steeped in the best traditions of the 80's hard rock era, with hints of once-upon-a-time big time acts, even throwing in shades of Boston as well.
Reyes ability to replicate the perfect 80's riff gives this album a nostalgic feel, although the production is modern enough to suggest it isn't dated, with a crisp sound, and evenly distributed to all sections. 'Good Times' immediately introduces Lebocat's throwback melodies to a better time, puncuated by Reyes aggressive riffing, but offset by a surging melodic solo. 'It's Love' feels like primetime Dokken, only better, the power trio coming off more accomplished power wise. The boys turn up the volume with 'Let's Rock' which is a mix of far reaching artists such as Dio and Van Halen with an impeccable guitar tone that drives this fierce rocker. The opening riff of 'Looking For Love' is frustratingly familiar, but as I cannot recall what, it must be an original note. The Eric Martin guested 'One On One' could be a lost Warrant track, Cimino nails a Jani Lane vocal tone, but the chorus conjures up images of Boston. Robert Berry (Hush, Alliance) adds some tasty keyboards, to give this the most 80's atmosphere yet. 'Shakin' boasts a bold and brazen riff which typified that period, standard raunchy fare rarely heard to this degree anymore. Boston comparisons are inevitable again after hearing the hook for 'There's Only One'. I'm positive Tom Scholz is buried in there somewhere. Once into the guitar solo Lebocat establish their own sound thankfully. Another non stop rocker rounds off the proceedings, 'Wild And Free', concluding a satisfying affair.
In an age where frauds like Kelly Osbourne obtain major label deals, the chances of Lebocat striking it big seem remote unfortunately. This is accomplished enough to deserve a wider audience though. The talent is undeniable, these men know their craft and excel at Hard Rock in a vein many thought to have died a while back, but is being kept alive by themselves and others, like Atello and Broken Toyz. Congratulations to Cimino who wrote eleven of the twelve songs, an outstanding effort. While the latter half drags slightly in places, a few repetitive riffs and melodies to blame, it's easily repeat-worthy material. Reyes, it has to be said, is on fire throughout, and is a name to watch for. An eye opening success.. that is Lebocat. And as for the bandname? Well, here's a hint. It refers to an eating place. Spell it backwards.. hehe!
URL:www.lebocat.com Comment: Guest appearances by Eric Martin and Robert Berry
01 Good Times
02 It's Love
03 The In-Laws
04 Let's Rock
05 Looking For Love
06 No Time
07 One On One
08 Runnin' From Your Love
09 AW Class
11 Talkin to Ya
12 There's Only One
13 You and Me
14 Wild and Free
15 Shut Up!
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