CD Review: Lita Ford – Time Capsule

CD Review: Lita Ford – Time Capsule
All Access Rating: A-

Lita Ford - Time Capsule 2016
Gathering dust for some time in Lita Ford's house in the Caribbean, the previously unreleased material comprising Time Capsule practically begged to be released. She's finally given in to its demands.

Here are Ford's "lost" treasures, made on the fly with some of the biggest names in '80s rock and metal. With her new book "Living Like a Runaway: Lita Ford, A Memoir" already out, Time Capsule, due out via Steamhammer/SPV, arrives carrying a lot of baggage. Open this suitcase of a record and songs reminiscent of Ford's stiletto-heeled, spandex-clad heyday come spilling out, as sleazy grooves and tough riffs snarl at aching ballads that are pretty on the outside but hurt down deep, all of it in keeping with the glorious pop-metal sound that propelled her to solo stardom decades ago.

Along with making the Jimi Hendrix instrumental "Little Wing" smolder with searing, bluesy intensity, Ford and company bump-and-grind through a nasty "Black Leather Heart" and roll around in the gutter with a defiant, rough-and-tumble "Rotten to the Core" – co-written by KISS bassist Gene Simmons, who also plays on the track. Tenacious and biting, her solos scratch any itch until it bleeds, especially on the growling, savage "Mr. Corruption," and her vocals go from wounded to sweet and coy and then angry in no time at all.

These and other tracks are laced with bittersweet, melodramatic melodies that taste of alkaline and sugar, as the crestfallen, yearning "Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight" – with guest vocals by Jeff Scott Soto, his slight rasp pairing well with Ford's pure passion – puts on a brave face and marches forth dressed in thorny hooks that also poke through the rising epic "War of the Angels" and a beautifully rendered "Killing Kind," with its sublime chorus and surprisingly tasteful mandolin provided by Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro.

All sides of Ford's complicated and compelling personality fight for attention on Time Capsule, which is no mere odds-and-sods collection thrown together haphazardly just to fulfill contractual obligations with a record label. These are good, solid rock songs – some of the best she's ever written in fact – that have no expiration date. And yet, while the songwriting is tight and assured, and the production is vivid and lively, the vibe emanating from Time Capsule is one of a series of enjoyable, intimate jam sessions between old friends. Bassist extraordinaire Billy Sheehan appears here and there, and Cheap Trick's Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen providing complementary backing vocals on "Killing Kind." The stuff in this Time Capsule hasn't aged badly at all.
– Peter Lindblad

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