Sometimes I listen to records that I am given to review and I think to myself: ‘you’ve got to do this for the 14 year old you’. That pretty much applies to anything John Diva And The Rockets Of Love put out.

I was born in 1975. That means by the time I was 14 years old, glam metal (and the day we call it ‘hair metal’ on the site is the day we pack in) was as big as it was going to get. When you could put Headbangers Ball on MTV (in truth we never had it, my best mate used to tape it for me) and see Danger Danger doing “Monkey Business”, or Warrant doing “Cherry Pie”. You could dig a bit deeper if you wanted and love bands like Faster Pussycat too.

Then a couple of years later bands like Trixter came along and we’d go to Tempest Records in Birmingham (which was the only place you could get import records) and spend whatever money we had buying them.

The point I am making here is I was a glam rock kid. We devoured it. In fact, when the whole of my school in my last year at Comprehensive was going mad for Nirvana, I was buying Thunder, the Little Angels and Def Leppard’s records.

And sometimes, even now, you hear a band, even though tastes change and all that, but I hear a band and it transports you back to that.

“The Big Easy” is that album. But it’s a very specific type of album. It’s not dated. It’s classic sounding. But its laid back, its got a West Coast air.

And one listen to the title track will tell you whether you’ll like it or not. It’s the reason I mentioned Trixter in the intro, because its got them written all over it. A kind of crunch to its harmony.

On that one, there’s a line that says: “make love great again”. On the next one “God Made Radio”, there’s an absolute load of Van Halen-isms, but it’s a celebration of 80s and 90s tunes. It lists about 100 of them it seems, from Pet Shop Boys to GnR, and that’s the key to loving this. This is a band that knows what it loves, but given the sentiment about “love”, they are doing it with a positive air.

“Runaway Train” is as American as it gets. It’s worth pointing out, though that Diva and the boys are from Germany. The promo picture for this band sort of looks like Poison have let themselves go, but the music is as classy as it gets. “Thunder” sees fists up in the air, “Believe” could – at a push – be an FM song and “Back In The Days” even contains the words “all we had was a pocketful of dreams” and still sounds ace.

There’s a power ballad – of course there is  – but in common with everything here, “Hit And Run” is done with such a love and warmth that you can’t resist it.

And here’s the other thing about JDATROL, they don’t do the sex and drugs thing. Instead their message is one of tolerance. “Boys Don’t Play With Dolls” might be drenched in horns like Areosmith circa “Pump”, but it’s a 21st century song. To paraphrase Warrant, they happily mix up the batter and let her lick the beater, but only if it was consensual.

There are some fine songs here, but none better than “The Limit Is The Sky”. Its got a promise about it, a hope, a dream. And 2023 needs it. There’s a party song too, “Capri Style”, its got long summer days written all over it, and the second slow one, “Wild At Heart” doesn’t even hide that fact it really wants to be U2. They were cool in the 80s, too.

I’ve reviewed all three of John Diva And The Rockets Of Love’s albums. The first one, back in 2019, suffered from the fact it was just a homage. The second one added bombast. “The Big Easy” on the other hand is them finding their own voice. And its their best by a long, long way. Bon Jovi took to their third album to get it right too – and we know what happened to “Slippery When Wet”, right? Just saying.

Rating 8.5/10

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