Monday, February 17, 2014

Revisiting a classic: TKO - Let it Roll!

Classified as a hard rock/metal band, TKO seems to be a bit mild to fit in this category (at least for this album). They get a bit heavier in later releases, but for Let it Roll, their debut album in 1979, TKO falls into the classic late 70’s rock category. I find they sound noticeably similar to The Who.

TKO formed in Seattle, Washington in the late 70’s. Lead singer (and only ongoing member) Brad Sinsel moved to Seattle from Yakima, Washington and joined a band called Mojo Hand. After many lineup changes, eventually all of the original members of Mojo Hand moved along leaving Brad as the member with the most seniority. It was somewhere around this time that the band name changed and became TKO. The lineup was: Sinset on vocals, Rick Pierce and Tony Bortko on guitars, Mark Seidenverg on bass and Darryl Siguenza on drums.

TKO quickly started gaining attention in the Seattle music scene and landed a recording deal with Infinity Records (owned by MCA). This is when Let It Roll came to light. It was the only release on this label since Infinity Records dissolved shortly after its release.
While it is labelled as a hard rock/metal album, this is really before they took their 80’s form. Instead of that thick fuzzy distortion, the guitar has a cleaner sound. The bass is crisp, and drums are very straightforward with no fancy frills and fills. It is an easier listen than what will soon come on their second heavier metal album: In Your Face.

It is overall a solid rock album almost forming a transition between 70’s glam and 80’s heavy rock. It’s definitely dated, but still worth a listen. The similarities to The Who are a bit overwhelming in some instances, but the backup singing and metal-ish guitar solos definitely give them their own unique twist.

I picked up an original release of this album on the Infinity label. Divebomb Records reissued Let It Roll in 2008 on CD with nine bonus live tracks which is an appealing option, but I will stick with the vinyl. 

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