Wanted: five very talented rock musicians from the American heartland seeking fame and fortune when glam rock and hair metal was in death's choke hold. Wanted: a band very close to a label contract with Geffen Records before record label and band management difficulties dissolved any hope. Wanted: another near Motley Crue clone. The first two observations are based in fact, the last after several spins of the archival recordings on Wanted's Too Hot to Handle from Eonian Records.
Wanted has all the sound and swagger of the Sunset Strip, and they don't skimp on that rowdy rock and roll sound that made the big hair Eighties famous. Too Hot to Handle is split between unreleased studio recordings and live material. Highlighting the former is probably Wanted's efficient arrangements that deal their down and dirty rock in a short three minutes or less. But, also, Whiskey & Woman, Mr. Right, and Too Hot to Handle show they have the formula nearly perfect, even if they do sound like Crue. Wanted stumbles during the quite derivative ballad Lost in Me Forever (originally recorded for the Geffen Records possibility). Listening to these studio recordings, you recognize Wanted's talent and potential, but also how bands typically, at the tail end of an era, began to sound like each other, or whoever was the current big thing.
Perhaps the best thing then about Too Hot to Handle is the archival live recordings in the second half. Though of dismal quality, you hear both the aforementioned potential, but also their fine musicianship and stage energy. Not every body makes it, and though some should, Wanted's enthusiasm shines through on Anchors Aweigh, Don't Play with My Head, and Life in the City. Fans and collectors should scoop this package up simply for this glimpse of Wanted's best hour.
Passing over initial comparisons to another Crue, on Too Hot to Handle Wanted proves they had the talent, enthusiasm, and songs to deliver strategic and entertaining Sunset Strip-style melodic hard rock.
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