1. Road To Ruin
2. Red Shoes
3. Face Down In The Wishing Well
4. Long Hard Road
5. On The Run
6. Stop, Look & Listen
8. Dirty Dog Night
9. West Wind Blows
10. Back To You
To say that Cry Wolf were just another "hair band" from L.A. lost in the shuffle, would be cruel, but it is sadly true. In my opinion they essentially come across as a poor man's Firehouse. The music is lightweight, with a focus on ballads and the singer's (Timmy Hall) vocals sound alot like CJ Snare. At times the band even sound similar to Stryper. Timmy Hall, along with Steve McKnight (guitar), Phil Deckard (bass) and Paul Cancilla (drums) formed Cry Wolf around 1985, apparently they had a little competition, whereby the person to come up with the best band name won Motley Crue tickets. Nice.
The band recorded a demo that went down a storm in Japan (ah, those crazy Japs! They'll lap up anything!), leading to a debut LP - 1989's "Cry Wolf" - and mini tour in the land of the rising sun. After a handful of sold-out shows the guys scored a deal and the international release of "Crunch" through the Grand Slamm label. "Crunch" is basically the band's debut with some added cuts and a different running order, so picking up the self titled slab is no real big deal, as neither is this. Don't get me wrong, Timmy Hall has a lovely set of pipes and the band can play, play well in fact, but everything is missing balls. "Crunch" only has about four or five good tracks, with the other half of the recorded being decidedly average. "Road To Ruin" is a decent, but very mid-paced opener - again too lightweight - but it has some groove and a touch of spunky funk about it. "Long Hard Road" is a very forgettable ballad I'm afraid to say. If the rest of the album would have had a rawer feel, this song would have made a nice little interlude - a come down if you will from the not so daunting kiddie ride the listener had just been enduring. "Stop, Look & Listen" is probably the most rockin' tune on here, with maybe "Dirty Dog Night" a close second. Both showcase well, what Cry Wolf are capable of and I would give these a spin for sure if I was turning anyone onto them.
Now, the albums best song, and the song Cry Wolf are most well known for, is "Pretender". It's quite exceptional. The guitar work at the beginning is gorgeous and the song builds really beautifully into a semi-ballad, semi-rocker - top notch stuff (they did a promo video too). The band didn't last long into the 90's surprisingly, breaking up due to musical differences, poor sales in their homeland and the changing tide of the hard rock scene.
To sum up, pretty much everything else on this album isn't worth noting or ranting over in great detail, as it all comes across totally pedestrian which is sorely disappointing. Still, this record and everything contained on the compact disc that's lying next to me as I type, is still streets ahead in terms of class than anything you will find forced on you by the radio and the "charts". So suck on that...
© Flash Metal Circus