It’s summer of 1989, and I’m 13 years old. Tommy Vance (RIP) played a track called “Poison” by Alice Cooper. I’d never heard of the band (I know!), but I rang my mate the next morning to discuss this wonderful new artist I’d heard (I know!).

I just Googled it; “Trash” – the album “Poison” came from (you probably know this) – was Cooper’s 11th solo album. “Road” is his 22nd. I won’t say something facile like “it’s his best this millennium” or whatever, but I’ll say this with total confidence: “Road” is a wonderful record, and if you have any love for Vince, then you’ll think it is too.

Not that it’s all that “solo.” He’s surrounded himself with some of the best over the years, and this lot is as good as it gets. The results prove it.

It all starts with “I’m Alice.” He is. And he’s the king. Plus, he knows it. It’s classic sounding and full of knowing winks. The spoken word bit is incredible.

We’re all in on this joke too. We all know. Take “Welcome To The Show”; if he doesn’t play this before every gig, then I don’t know rock ‘n’ roll.

I do know that in “All Over The World,” Alice gets a bit horny. Calm down, just a horn section. It’s him bragging over a classic rock ‘n’ roll beat, and Hurricane Nita is the queen of the guitar.

“Dead Don’t Dance” gets its blues on. “Go Away” is a proper garage rocker, and some woman won’t leave Alice alone.

“White Line Frankenstein” is brilliant. Sassy, filthy, and way better than any man of his age has a right to be. And “Big Boots” has the type of double entendre that AC/DC made a career out of (albeit over a Stones-y vibe).

“Rules Of The Road” is like a “How To Be Alice.” Except you can’t. He can. You’re mortal. He knows this.

“The Big Goodbye” is everything hard rock should be. Cooper knows how good his band is, and they prove it time after time, not least on “Road Rats Forever.” This is his road crew song if you will, and it’s a cracker.

“Baby Please Don’t Go” (I had my money on a cover) is the one moment of tenderness here. An almost Springsteen ballad, it’s a slice of working-class love, maybe at odds with the rest.

This is, to all intents and purposes, a concept record, and “100 More Miles” finds our hero going home. Over a blues beat, and he’s glad to be giving Alice a rest.

“Magic Bus,” this one is an actual cover, and it’s fun. What better way to drive down the rock ‘n’ roll Road than on a Magic Bus? Keith Moon would be proud.

Speaking of Moon, he was in the Hollywood Vampires drinking club that Alice was in. They, and all his other “Dead Drunk Friends,” have been immortalized in the other band he’s in. I saw them the other week. Alice still has it. Whatever it is. Put it this way, Johnny Depp doesn’t play second fiddle to many when he’s in a room, but even Jack Sparrow had to defer to the absolute king of rock ‘n’ roll.

“The legend lives on,” Coop sang in that opening song. He’s not wrong. By the third, he’s pointing out that “rock will never die as long as we don’t disappear.” He’s not wrong about that either, and “Road” is ample proof. More than that though, it’s not just a brilliant album, it’s a brilliant Alice Cooper record. The man, the band, and the theatre are not stopping. There’s no retirement date on Genius.

Rating: 9/10

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