Personnel: Kevin Preston (vocals, guitar); Aaron Minton (saxophone, keyboards, percussion, background vocals); David S. Field (drums, percussion); "Lights Out" Levine (background vocals).
Photographer: Dawn Laureen.
The fourth studio long-player from the glittery glam rock/punk metal enthusiasts, Nine Lives and Forty-Fives is an unabashed love letter to '70s power pop, blue-collar juke joint swagger, and Sunset Strip glitz. More Redd Kross than Mötley Crüe, Prima Donna have some glam metal tendencies, but any predilection for big-hair excess is tempered by a seemingly genuine love of pop songcraft. The 11-track set opens with the fiery "Pretty Little Head," a punk-addled semi-thrasher that threatens to bust into "Ballroom Blitz" at any given moment. Delivered with appropriate amounts of bluesy gusto and good-natured rabidity by frontman Kevin Preston, who also lends his pipes to Green Day's garage rock alter ego Foxboro Hot Tubs, it provides a suitable litmus test for listeners wondering whether or not they should go deeper into the cigarette butt-strewn rabbit hole. What follows are seven more originals and three covers ("I'm on Fire" [Dwight Twilley], "Rock and Roll Is Dead" [the Rubinoos], and "Rip Her to Shreds" [Blondie]), with highlights arriving via the giddy, '90s alt-rock-inspired, handclap-laden "Deathless" and the meaty kiss-off anthem "Like Hell," the latter of which wouldn't have sounded out of place on a mid-period Social Distortion album. ~ James Christopher Monger