Situation Dangerous

Bozzio Levin Stevens

Magna Carta Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Since their first collaboration Black Light Syndrome came out in 1997, fans of Bozzio Levin Stevens have been waiting with bated breath for their next collaboration. I include myself in that group, having named the first release from guitarist Steve Stevens, bassist Tony Levin and drummer Terry Bozzio, as the best release of that year.

Yet something is different about their long-awaited sophomore effort Situation Dangerous. It's not that it's a bad disc; as usual, all three musicians are stellar. It's almost that the spontaneous nature of the project is gone - and, with it, some of the magic.

There is no doubt left that this time around, Stevens is the star of the show. His guitar work runs the gamut from full-scale shredding to absolutely impeccable Spanish guitar licks, and he constantly proves himself to be more than just the guitarist who once teamed up with Billy Idol. Stevens could well be one of the most underrated guitarists out there, and my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Situation Dangerous makes every attempt to correct that oversight.

But something has to suffer if one person gets the limelight - and, sadly, the contributions of Levin and Bozzio often are pushed into the background. Oh, sure, Bozzio's drum work shines throughout all eight tracks of this disc, but I wish he had been given a little room to just cut loose and throw in some fills of his own. As for Levin, he does get a chance to shine on "Endless" when he solos on the cello. It's hauntingly beautiful, and is demonstrates just how gifted a musician he really is. Yet more often than not, Levin seems perfectly happy standing in the background and serving as a solid rhythmic backbone.

The music on Situation Dangerous is an eclectic mix which dares to even transcend the genre of progressive rock, which Bozzio Levin Stevens helped to re-champion on Black Light Syndrome. "Dangerous" is a frenzied ride which sometimes feels like someone is adding in keyboards without getting credited. (The only additional musician credited is Marcus Nand for his flamenco guitar work on "tziganne".) "Endless" moves from an almost neo-classical piece to a jazzy swing, daring to make a 10-minute song pass in the blink of an eye.

For that matter, that's the Achilles' heel on Situation Dangerous. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the music this band is creating that one quickly loses focus on how the album's progressing. I've spent the better part of two days listening to this disc, and I can't think of one time where I didn't find myself distracted by the music, to the point where I'd restart the disc at the first track.

Situation Dangerous is still a solid follow-up from a band who could easily make a career out of working together non-stop. Yet it suggests that not all of the promise in their debut disc has been lived up to - although they come close.

Rating: B+

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Magna Carta Records, and is used for informational purposes only.