By Jason Duarte
Asian Man Records
[Originally written for Jaded In Chicago].
Former Groovie Ghoulies frontman Kepi Ghoulie is back with a new album titled I Bleed Rock ‘N’ Roll, his first since 2009’s Life Sentence. The album starts out with the short, sweet and defining “Rock ‘N’ Roll Shark,” which sends the strong message that like a shark that stops swimming, Kepi will die if he stops rockin’. “Nikki Lee” is a very upbeat, Chuck Berry-esque rock ‘n’ roll tune, and one of the album’s strongest. The title track reinforces the opener as Kepi sings, “I bleed rock ‘n’ roll. I believe in rock ‘n’ roll. When every single friend is gone, the music just keeps playing on and out into the universe, second verse same as the first.” To Kepi, rock ‘n’ roll is more than just a job or a passion; to him it’s a way of life. Kepi also re-recorded “When I’m Gone,” which originally appeared on his solo EP, Yes Depression. The new version is electrified and the guitar work is reminiscent of something out of a rock ‘n’ roll standard. Another revisited track is “Love to Give,” which originally appeared as “(I’ve Got) Love to Give,” on the Groovie Ghoulies’ final album in 2007, 99 Lives. There is one cover that Kepi chose for this album, and that’s Johnny Thunders’ “Blame It on Mom.” I enjoy Kepi’s cover better because he left out the saxophone. My favorite track on the album is “The Fever,” for its infectious chorus and dedicated lyrics. I’m with Kepi when he says, “What the world needs now is rock ‘n’ roll.” The album closes with a melancholy acoustic song called “Hard to Forget,” which surprised me as a closer. I wish it were toward the middle of the album, so it would serve as a break, but the album is still strong. I Bleed Rock ‘N’ Roll pleasantly surprised me. Kepi branches further from his previous material and continues to make great songs, and also revisit and put a twist on some old ones.