Reviews

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February 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm Quote #3509

ron
(8929)

The…New…VAN HALEN
Added: February 3rd, 2012
Author: neanderpaul

OK…in the interest of “full disclosure”…I am, and have always been a Van Halen fan.

From the moment I heard their debut in 1978, I was hooked. There’s something about Van Halen that has always (save for that little blip in 1998) been unique. It didn’t matter if it was Dave, or Sammy. When you heard Van Halen…you knew it was Van Halen.

There’s always been the argument; “They sold more records with Sammy.” First of all, that’s simply not true. According to the RIAA Van Halen have sold somewhere around 56-million records in the US. Now, that number has increased over the years, but assuming their stats are accurate as of right now (no pun intended) 34 million of those were DLR-era records. So, that argument is refuted.

Then there’s the “They had more hits with Sammy.” And this is absolutely true. The addition of Sammy Hagar to Van Halen absolutely made them a more inclusive musical entity. Prior to Sammy, Van Halen were more of a Hard Rock band, bordering on Heavy Metal. Sammy’s addition made their music much more palatable to the masses, and easier to exposure on Top-40 radio.

The fact is…this debate is probably the most intense, and hotly contested in Rock history. Everyone has an opinion. This isn’t like Steve Perry-Journey, or Brian Johnson vs. Bon Scott. Peter Gabriel vs. Phil Collins. None of them have raged on like the Van Halen lead singer argument. With apologies to my good friend Gary Cherone, Dave v. Sammy has been that element that both unites & divides Van Halen fans (and Rock fans on the whole).

The band’s dysfunction is as legendary as their musical output. Quick synopsis: All bands are dysfunctional. Dave quits in 1985. Band and ex-lead singer snipe each other in the press. Sammy joins. Lead singers snipe each other in the press. Sammy quits. Band and ex-lead singer snipe each other in the press. Dave returns for two songs. People rejoice. Internal dysfunction continues. Dave is out again. Cue sniping. Extreme frontman Gary Cherone joins. It’s an unwinnable situation. Band releases Van Halen III & tours. Record doesn’t sell. Gary is out. Sammy & Dave tour together? Ex-lead singers snipe each other in the press. Van Halen goes through period of inactivity. Sammy returns for “Greatest Hits Package & Tour” Edward Van Halen is in poor health. Tour concludes. Sammy is out again. Sniping? you bet! Original bassist Michael Anthony is also out. Band drafts Edward Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang to play bass. Dave comes back (again!). Band tours. Reports of dysfunction continue. Time heals all wounds. Band makes first full record of new material in 14 years, and first with DLR in 28. Sammy Hagar continues to snipe. Shockingly, DLR ignores the bait. Band plays secret shows in NY & LA. Reviews are strong.

That’s where we are today. Which brings me to my “review” of the forthcoming “A Different Kind Of Truth.” Which will be in stores Tuesday, Feb 7th.

I won’t go into a song-by-song review. Plenty of those will pop up around the ‘net soon enough. Yes, many of the tracks originally sought life in the 70s. This is not a new concept. Bands draw on past material all the time. Refreshing the tones and lyrics. Creating their music. It’s *their* music. Who cares when it was written? It’s being released now. I don’t get that argument at all.

The thing that strikes me about “A Different Kind Of Truth” is the *vibe* of Van Halen is present throughout. Highlights for me include “Blood & Fire” & “Stay Frosty”…which may already be my favorite Van Halen song of all time. What’s interesting is the fact that a 57-year old David Lee Roth has written lyrics that continue his unique ability to write absurd commentary without sounding silly or outdated. I won’t say it’s a maturity. I’d say it’s a comfort level. He knows he can write clever double-entendre. He also knows that writing the kind of stuff certain other ex-vocalists have written, comes off as an old man struggling to remain relevant to “the kids.”

This doesn’t happen on ADKOT.

The most striking element of the record is drummer Alex Van Halen. He “sounds happy.” It’s hard to put into words. The band sounds…right. He is in a groove. You’ve heard it said before that a record is an attempt to capture a mood. The band at a moment in time. They have done that. Once this album is heard by the masses, it will become clear.

The Dave vs. Sammy debate is clearly over. They made great music with Sammy. Even the doubters have to cop to that.

Sammy & Michael Anthony have a good band with their Chickenfoot outfit (which also features guitar hero Joe Satriani). They’ve released 2 CDs of their own and are playing this Spring/Summer at a club/theater near you.

But…They are the “Mighty Van Halen” with Dave. And, they’ll be frequenting the local hockey rink near you soon.

There’s nothing like Van Halen. Thank your deity of choice. You can’t put it into words. You just have to be able to hear it.


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February 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm Quote #3513

ron
(8929)

Van Halen’s “A Different Kind of Truth’

Originally published: February 3, 2012 2:12 PM
Updated: February 3, 2012 2:16 PM
By GLENN GAMBOA

Eddie Van Halen is a guitar virtuoso. David Lee Roth is a master showman.

On “A Different Kind of Truth” (Interscope), the first Van Halen album featuring both of them since “1984″ 28 years ago, the duo — along with Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, on bass, and brother, Alex, on drums — is in fine form.

From start to finish, Eddie Van Halen fires off one memorable solo after another, putting to rest any worries about how he would fare after his stint in rehab in 2007. When Roth’s lyrics struggle, as they do in the single “Tattoo,” Van Halen’s guitarwork keeps the whole thing from sinking. When Roth is at his best, as he is in the raucous, hardcore-punk-meets-”Panama” hard-charger “As Is” and the heavy-metal ode to his adopted home of New York “China Town,” he and Van Halen push each other to dizzying heights, resulting in pure magic.

There’s plenty of rock radio staples here as well, from the raging “She’s the Woman” and “Big River” to the anthem-like “Blood and Fire.” Some of these songs may be reworkings of Van Halen material that’s been kicking around since the ’70s, but they work so well today, what does it matter? “A Different Kind of Truth” marks the legendary band’s welcome return.

VAN HALEN

“A Different Kind of Truth”

GRADE B

BOTTOM LINE

A grand, if uneven, reunion of rock heroes

User rating: 3 of 4


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February 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm Quote #3522

ron
(8929)

Van Halen returns in a big way — and that’s the ‘Truth’

Van Halen, A Different Kind of Truth (Interscope) * * *

One of the singular sounds in all of rock music has been the scrape of David Lee Roth’s Vaudevillian voice bumping against Eddie Van Halen’s dive-bombing guitar. The interplay between Roth’s vocals and Van Halen’s guitar was the height of conversational eloquence, the hard rock equivalent of listening to a Bill Moyers interview.

A Different Kind of Truth is the first full Van Halen album with Roth on vocals since 1984. The good news is that the old pros, now in their late 50s, have reclaimed much of their vintage sound with the heaviest — and at 49 minutes and 13 tracks longest — Van Halen album with Roth.

The group, which now includes Eddie’s son Wolfgang, 20, on bass in place of Michael Anthony, achieves this feat by repeating an old tactic employed on the first six albums with Roth — culling from archived ’70s demos. She’s the Woman and Big River were directly lifted, polished and completed from these old work tapes. The underwhelming first single, Tattoo, which plays much better in the context of the album as its lead track, reportedly was also refashioned from this period.

What sullen contemporary rock really needed was a shot of energy and joie de vivre Van Halen-style, and Truth delivers with surprising dexterity. There are no ballads, no keyboards, no Tibetan monks. China Town ranks as one of the fastest tempo songs in the Van Halen catalog. Roth’s cocky sense of humor remains, as on Blood and Fire where he cracks, “Told ya I was coming back!” The grabby hooks of Big River and The Trouble With Never evoke such nostalgia for the mid-’80s you’re forgiven if you mistakenly tune in to MTV to look for the videos.

Truth misses Anthony’s backing vocal harmonies, which were an integral part of Van Halen’s sound, and John Shanks’ unimaginative production unfortunately centers everything in the busy mix. He buries Roth who, on As Is, can be heard asking, “Can I get more volume in my headphones, please?” But overall A Different Kind of Truth is that rare rock reunion that respects the past but feels vital, fresh and thrilling in the new generation.


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February 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm Quote #3526

Gilligan
(1417)

Thanks for posting all of these, Ron. I’m really enjoying reading through them. :-P


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February 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm Quote #3530

guitard
(7354)

John Shanks’ unimaginative production unfortunately centers everything in the busy mix. He buries Roth who, on As Is, can be heard asking, “Can I get more volume in my headphones, please?”

Gee….I wonder if Dave asked that question because he really and truly did need more volume in his headphones?? I guess that is proof positive that Shanks buried Roth in the mix…I mean…why else would Dave say that?


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February 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm Quote #3538

steecoe
(1953)

oops


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February 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm Quote #3540

steecoe
(1953)

ron:
The…New…VAN HALEN
Added: February 3rd, 2012
Author: neanderpaul

OK…in the interest of “full disclosure”…I am, and have always been a Van Halen fan.

From the moment I heard their debut in 1978, I was hooked. There’s something about Van Halen that has always (save for that little blip in 1998) been unique. It didn’t matter if it was Dave, or Sammy. When you heard Van Halen…you knew it was Van Halen.

There’s always been the argument; “They sold more records with Sammy.” First of all, that’s simply not true. According to the RIAA Van Halen have sold somewhere around 56-million records in the US. Now, that number has increased over the years, but assuming their stats are accurate as of right now (no pun intended) 34 million of those were DLR-era records. So, that argument is refuted.

Then there’s the “They had more hits with Sammy.” And this is absolutely true. The addition of Sammy Hagar to Van Halen absolutely made them a more inclusive musical entity. Prior to Sammy, Van Halen were more of a Hard Rock band, bordering on Heavy Metal. Sammy’s addition made their music much more palatable to the masses, and easier to exposure on Top-40 radio.

The fact is…this debate is probably the most intense, and hotly contested in Rock history. Everyone has an opinion. This isn’t like Steve Perry-Journey, or Brian Johnson vs. Bon Scott. Peter Gabriel vs. Phil Collins. None of them have raged on like the Van Halen lead singer argument. With apologies to my good friend Gary Cherone, Dave v. Sammy has been that element that both unites & divides Van Halen fans (and Rock fans on the whole).

The band’s dysfunction is as legendary as their musical output. Quick synopsis: All bands are dysfunctional. Dave quits in 1985. Band and ex-lead singer snipe each other in the press. Sammy joins. Lead singers snipe each other in the press. Sammy quits. Band and ex-lead singer snipe each other in the press. Dave returns for two songs. People rejoice. Internal dysfunction continues. Dave is out again. Cue sniping. Extreme frontman Gary Cherone joins. It’s an unwinnable situation. Band releases Van Halen III & tours. Record doesn’t sell. Gary is out. Sammy & Dave tour together? Ex-lead singers snipe each other in the press. Van Halen goes through period of inactivity. Sammy returns for “Greatest Hits Package & Tour” Edward Van Halen is in poor health. Tour concludes. Sammy is out again. Sniping? you bet! Original bassist Michael Anthony is also out. Band drafts Edward Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang to play bass. Dave comes back (again!). Band tours. Reports of dysfunction continue. Time heals all wounds. Band makes first full record of new material in 14 years, and first with DLR in 28. Sammy Hagar continues to snipe. Shockingly, DLR ignores the bait. Band plays secret shows in NY & LA. Reviews are strong.

That’s where we are today. Which brings me to my “review” of the forthcoming “A Different Kind Of Truth.” Which will be in stores Tuesday, Feb 7th.

I won’t go into a song-by-song review. Plenty of those will pop up around the ‘net soon enough. Yes, many of the tracks originally sought life in the 70s. This is not a new concept. Bands draw on past material all the time. Refreshing the tones and lyrics. Creating their music. It’s *their* music. Who cares when it was written? It’s being released now. I don’t get that argument at all.

The thing that strikes me about “A Different Kind Of Truth” is the *vibe* of Van Halen is present throughout. Highlights for me include “Blood & Fire” & “Stay Frosty”…which may already be my favorite Van Halen song of all time. What’s interesting is the fact that a 57-year old David Lee Roth has written lyrics that continue his unique ability to write absurd commentary without sounding silly or outdated. I won’t say it’s a maturity. I’d say it’s a comfort level. He knows he can write clever double-entendre. He also knows that writing the kind of stuff certain other ex-vocalists have written, comes off as an old man struggling to remain relevant to “the kids.”

This doesn’t happen on ADKOT.

The most striking element of the record is drummer Alex Van Halen. He “sounds happy.” It’s hard to put into words. The band sounds…right. He is in a groove. You’ve heard it said before that a record is an attempt to capture a mood. The band at a moment in time. They have done that. Once this album is heard by the masses, it will become clear.

The Dave vs. Sammy debate is clearly over. They made great music with Sammy. Even the doubters have to cop to that.

Sammy & Michael Anthony have a good band with their Chickenfoot outfit (which also features guitar hero Joe Satriani). They’ve released 2 CDs of their own and are playing this Spring/Summer at a club/theater near you.

But…They are the “Mighty Van Halen” with Dave. And, they’ll be frequenting the local hockey rink near you soon.

There’s nothing like Van Halen. Thank your deity of choice. You can’t put it into words. You just have to be able to hear it.

I really like this review. Well put. :mrgreen:


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February 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm Quote #3544

mrmojohalen
(5435)

PT5150:

Love how heavy HONEYBABYSWEETIEDOLLis,monster guitar…

DVD is great boys loose and having fun.Cool to see Dave’s dog there.

Listen to HONEYBABYSWEETIEDOLL, at 3:18 you can hear a dog bark.


When you turn on your stereo, does it return the favor?


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February 4, 2012 at 8:01 am Quote #3563

JasonA
(1010)

mrmojohalen: Listen to HONEYBABYSWEETIEDOLL, at 3:18 you can hear a dog bark.

Russell’s in da house!


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February 4, 2012 at 8:03 am Quote #3564

JasonA
(1010)

“These songs crackle, fizz and bulge with priapic exuberance” – that’s about as accurate of a description as I’ve heard.


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February 4, 2012 at 9:47 am Quote #3570

kite
(2009)

Just heard a review from a Dutch disc jockey. He listened to the ADKOT CD and said it was disappointing, no new musical stuff (he heard the story bout the demo songs I suppose) just muscle talking and lots of noise.

I disagree with this jock cause I like the album .



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February 4, 2012 at 11:09 am Quote #3573

bytor
(113)

I just got my copy of the new album in the post this morning, and I’ve got to say it sounds really good :mrgreen:


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February 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm Quote #3578

radikal
(3892)

Dont know if this was posted but here goes from MelodicRock

http://www.melodicrock.com/ Posted Feb 3rd 2012

VAN HALEN – FIRST IMPRESSIONS REVIEW:
So it’s been almost 24hrs with Van Halen’s newie A Different Kind Of Truth. Initial fan feedback from those that received their copies seems to match the enthusiasm of those still expecting it. The band needed to deliver and they have done just that.
My first reactions were sent out via Twitter last night. here’s a rounded out summary of those thoughts. A full feature review of the album will be posted next week – as soon as I get at least 30 spins of the album done.
The best thing about this new album – besides actually hearing new material at last – is the amazing energy on display. And this is vintage Van Halen as promised.

Track by Track:

Tattoo – Weakest track on the album. Still find it an odd kind of opening track (She’s The Woman has a far more authoritive intro), but we’re all familiar with it now. VH at their most commercial pop. An easy track to ease the public back into the band. I still see it as a better track 2 or 3.
She’s The Woman – great presence and a dirty riff to kick off. Simple chorus. Heavy groove. Sweet instrumental bridge into the solo and a pounding rhythm section. EVH absolutely on fire!
You And Your Blues - Love the intro and the move into a big sonic blast. Dave sounds amazing. Classic VH meets darker dirty style like Humans Being or From Afar even. Monster song and fast solo, some big harmonies and generally a cool anthemic blast.
China Town – WOW! Blazing solo to kick off then triple time slamming drums and bass. Fast fast FAST and furious. Short Dave style chorus (typical throughout the album). That guitar sound is like Balance to these ears. Furious solo and drum flurry. Back to a steady vocal, old school Dave.
Blood And Fire – More old school VH here. Uptempo again. Simple chorus once again, but some nice riffing around the song. Has a 1984 feel to it. Surprise melodic bridge intro some tasty picking and a blazing heavy solo! Feels like the tempo picks up even more.
Bullethead - Fast and furious again and WTF was that guitar intro??!!! Simple fast one word chorus – classic Dave. But heavy and fast! Song includes the album’s title in the lyrics. Effects in play for short solo. Fast rocking fun.
As Is – Loving this tune especially. This is HEAVY!!! And fast again with a Hot For Teacher vibe. How old are these guys again??? Great little chorus. Big BIG sound. And the close out is amazing. Guitars everywhere and dark and heavy. And some harmony box from DLR – who continues to sound incredible. What a solo! Fast furious shredding. Then into a Metallica heavy vibe. Now some HFT style spoken bridge.
Honeybabycutiedoll - Maybe the most bizarre guitar sound I’ve ever heard from EVH. Another uptempo track, a real groover. Dave speaks the vocals, but it works. One of those classic quirky VH tracks that each album seems to have one of.
The Trouble With Never - Another spoken word mid-track breakdown. Dave is having a blast and the groove of this album is unreal. Big commercial rocker that follows the last track perfectly. Big harmonies back again.
Outta Space – Another fast rocking groover. Yep, this beast is heavy! Another slamming display of rhythm. Dave vox really strong here.
Stay Frosty - Acoustic intro…Dave quirky lyrics and vocals and more spoken word stuff. Interesting use of DLR on this album. Then….BAM!…the song turns ULTRA heavy and features a monster groove. Mammoth close out with Alex going nuts.
Big River – More groove and lots of riffing. Dave going for a big vocal again. Fast and in your face again. Simple chorus as is the norm. Classic VH here. God the guitar sound is just HUGE!!!! Another great solo. Bit longer this time. Mixing riffs and picking.
Beats Working – Hard edged riff and matching drum beat. Fun rocker with more reminders of 1984. Defies explaining!

To summarize. The band have come together however they made it possible, but it’s done and it’s actually worth the wait. Another 30 plays and some flaws are going to come to light – Michael Anthony’s trademark vocals an obvious point – but those flaws aren’t going to be anything detrimental to the enjoyment of this album.
Every track has it’s place and there’s not a dull moment to be had.
The album is surprisingly heavy, very upbeat and has energy beyond description. This is not a ‘chorus’ album. Sammy Hagar brought that to the band, so fans of that era might be a little left out at times here. This is more a reflection of the classic vibe the band had in their early days. And why not – 7 of the album’s tracks were moulded from 70s demos. But today they sound as fresh as they possibly could be. David Lee Roth’s vocals have been wisely moulded into the groove of the album – its the best I’ve heard him since Eat Em And Smile. And the Van Halen’s are simply stunning.
And to top it all off – ADKOT features a monster production job and a crystal clear mix. The guitars have real and immediate impact and the music is a finely balanced mix of old old classic familiar Van Halen along with and some fresh and recent Van Halen too.
It is everything Dave Halen fans have been waiting since 1984 for and there’s plenty there too for Van Hagar fans. Full feature review to follow next week.


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February 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm Quote #3581

ron
(8929)

Album review: Van Halen’s ‘A Different Kind of Truth’
February 4, 2012 | 9:16 am

On “A Different Kind of Truth,” the first studio album from Van Halen to feature original lead singer David Lee Roth since “1984,” the charismatic front man sings about trying to land that “stone cold sister soccer mom” he’s chasing in “Honeybabysweetiedoll.” But hooking up is the least of the challenges facing Diamond Dave and his bandmates in this year of their comeback.

Some of the higher hurdles: Can they pull off this reunion moment without killing each other? Can they convince their fans that bassist/son-of-the-guitarist Wolfgang Van Halen really has earned his place in the band and can lock in with drummer/uncle Alex Van Halen? And, most important to the band’s success, is guitar maestro/dad Eddie Van Halen still able to effortlessly dance his fingers up and down the neck of his instrument in ways that not only support his claim as one of the great rock guitarists but advances his craft in a meaningful way.

And then there’s the challenge of the marketplace: In the 28 years since Roth recorded a full album with Van Halen, the landscape has completely changed. When the band’s original lineup last released a record, home taping was “killing” music and the question was whether to buy “1984″ on LP or cassette, or borrow a friend’s copy and tape over Foreigner “4.”

Now the dilemma isn’t just, should you spend money on the CD ($14.99 list price) or a digital copy (also — frustratingly — $14.99). It’s also, how much are you willing to commit to buying in? Will a few dropped bucks on a handful of the best individual tracks suffice? Or will “A Different Kind of Truth” be the perfect Spotify streaming album, not good enough to pay hard money for but worth a mouse-click when you’ve got a spare few minutes? Or should you just ask your computery friend to Sendspace you a pirated copy?

Looking at this record in purely financial terms: It’s got three works, “As Is,” “Outta Space” and “Big River” that would warrant spending real money on. These could have been hits in the alternate universe in which Van Halen followed up “1984,” not with the Sammy Hagar-helmed “5150″ but with the original lineup intact. Three others are halfway decent songs that might click at some point (“You and Your Blues,” “Bullethead,” “Blood and Fire”), that you’d be advised to put in your queue for further reflection; a few harmless filler tracks; and three clunkers that the band should be reimbursing us for (“Tattoo,” “Beats Workin’,” “Stay Frosty”).

It’s actually a perfect rock record for the pick-and-choose era: a handful of good songs that you can buy without having to deal with the fat.

“A Different Kind of Truth” is actually not bad; in fact, it’s pretty good, all things considered. Faint praise, sure, but given the quality of the band’s first single from it, “Tattoo,” and the history of aging bands reuniting for another stab at the charts and a cash-in on former glory, one can be forgiven for being skeptical.

A pop metal song that bangs around in the head clumsily, “Tattoo” certainly wasn’t a positive portent, but that half of the record rises to the level of the band’s glory days is a testament to the ingredients that made up Van Halen circa ’84, and “Truth” is a confirmation that this band wasn’t a fluke.

Thirteen high-volume songs created after successful negotiations between the Three Twins LLC (a.k.a. Alex, Eddie and Wolfgang), and you-know-who’s Diamond Dave Enterprises Inc., “A Different Kind of Truth” lives up to its name: This is alternate-reality rock in which a band attempts to time travel into 2012 from 1984, rehearse for a few months and complete enough decent songs to convince fans that a tour ticket will be worth it and that Van Halen is a real deal band making a real deal record despite the inter-band machinations and tour revenue prognostications.

Killer riffs abound. Were Eddie Van Halen stripped of his legend and offered to the masses as a hot new find, he’d still be received as one of the meanest, most thrilling metal guitarists in the genre’s history. Throughout “A Different Kind of Truth,” Eddie maneuvers between massive speed metal sprints and his trademark wailing solo style; the latter flashy guitar runs tend to sound samey over the course of the album, but taken individually, Eddie has seldom sounded better. One listen to his contributions to “Big River” should shut up any doubters.

The other way to look at it is that despite the bangers that successfully revive the Van Halen brand, half of this record features songs that will seldom if ever make it onto a concert set list. It’s these songs that drag the whole thing down and make “A Different Kind of Truth” feel tired, like an awesome old-school Trans Am that can do a wicked burnout from time to time but stalls from misuse.


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February 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm Quote #3603

mrmojohalen
(5435)

steecoe: I really like this review. Well put. :mrgreen:

Photobucket


When you turn on your stereo, does it return the favor?


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