HANOI ROCKS is a Finnish rock band. That in itself is enough to make the act a curiosity, but the fact that this five- piece band comes on like Aerosmith impersonating the New York Dolls has made Hanoi Rocks real rock-and-roll contenders. In Europe, their first three albums made them cult favorites in short order.
"Two Steps From the Move," the band's first recording made with the American market in mind, ignores the raw energy that made the band's early output so gloriously indulgent, choosing instead to remake the band in terms more amenable to the mythical average American rock fan. Thus, the resemblance to the Dolls has been played down, with a Creedence cover ("Up Around the Bend") substituted to give the five Finns a sense of roots.
At times, Hanoi Rocks can still muster the same sonic assault that made them cult favorites; both "Boiler" and "Futurama" roar mightily, while "I Can't Get It" works up an impressive head of steam by the last verse. But far too much of the album is the product of producer Bob Ezrin, who so overwhelms the band with his own sense of heavy rock aesthetics that most of what is distinctive about Hanoi Rocks is lost, leaving them only two steps from disaster.
HANOI ROCKS -- "Two Steps From the Move" (Epic BFE 39614); appearing Sunday at the Bayou.