Out August 18

(Pavement)

 

At HRH last year Janet Gardner proved she’s still a cool cat 25 years on from Vixen’s MTV-fuelled heyday.

And the all-girl hair metal quartet continue to celebrate their glorious past with a hit-laden show of radio friendly classics that truly stand the test of time.

But with this self-titled debut Gardner reveals her rough edges and raw emotion. And an obvious appetite for new material.

Vixen’s chorus-driven pop rock cedes to a brand of heavy indie rock that has more in common with Halestorm than Heart. It’s fierce and full-on – until Gardner lays herself bare on the acoustic-led Best Friend.

But even that stripped down ballad boasts a very different tone to a typical Vixen tune. Earlier Cradle best illustrates the point: Gardner’s voice is deeper and more emotionally affecting than at any time in the early 90s.

This is no hair metal throwback but that might not be a bad thing. There’s an unexpected energy and a sense of creative freedom at the heart of a wildly inconsistent but wonderfully endearing album.