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Non-Prog CD Reviews



Review by Greg Olma

Kottak is the new side project by James Kottak (called Jimmy Ratchitt here) and his wife Athena. I had no clue as to what to expect except for the sticker on the CD saying it was “Cheap Trick meets Green Day on a bad day.” Well for once, that sticker was accurate. It’s not often we are subjected to truth in advertising. Most of the music is punk but each song has other elements. The underlying element throughout is melody. Most of the choruses are extremely catchy and overall the music is well played. I was never really into punk rock and I’m not a Green Day fan but there is something about this album that is just plain fun. I don’t think that you can hold it against Rush’s 2112 but that is not what it is all about. This is the kind of album you throw on during a party or better yet, slip this in the CD player at any boring gathering and watch the “party” erupt.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Money Changes Everything
This is a fast paced punk tune. The sticker on the CD compares them to Green Day and Cheap Trick. They really hit the nail on the head. It has the Green Day riffing but Cheap Trick’s melody thrown over the top. It’s the perfect way to start the record.
A catchy chorus is what this track is all about. It is more of a straight ahead rock tune but does have that ‘70s pop punk sound to it. If you’re not humming the chorus for the rest of the day, then check your pulse.
Song That Won't Go Away
This tune has a Green Day acoustic intro before it kicks in and becomes a punky rocker. There is a nice guitar solo that fits the song perfectly.
Do You Want To Play
This is more of a metal track that has Beastie Boys thrown in. It is a bit repetitive but being just under 3 minutes, it goes by quickly.
I Miss You
I could picture Cheap Trick doing this cut. It is in the pop rock vein and even though it is a “simple” tune, it is catchy. This is the kind of song that proves that you can be simple and straightforward and still be good.
If you want weird lyrics, then this track is for you. I really like this tune because the chorus sounds like The Cult yet the rest of the songs has some modern metal sounds. It’s a nice mix that really works.
This is pure pop punk that is a bit slower in pace. That is one of the good things about this record. The tracks are mixed up to change up the pacing from song to song. It also contains another catchy chorus that will be buzzing around in your head for days.
Life Support
Changing things up again, this tune is a fast paced punk rocker that reminds me of the kind of music that is popular on college campuses. This could easily have been on the soundtrack to “Van Wilder.”
High (In My Little Room)
This starts of as an acoustic ballad in the LA Guns mold a la “Ballad Of Jane.” This is one of the better cuts on the album. It is little like a power ballad but not as cheesy.
Generation X
There are some southern rock sounds during the verses but the rest of the track is pure rock. There are some metal riffs thrown in along with some punk vocals but this is mostly a rock tune.
This is the worst song on the album. It really doesn’t fit in with the rest of the numbers. It is basically a rap tune sung by Athena. I will say this, it is catchy but I don’t want to be humming a track I don’t like.
Yes, this is the Scorpions song off of Lovedrive. At first I was afraid that this was going to be a straight cover tune. James Kottak, oops, I mean Jimmy Ratchitt puts in a good vocal performance and even sings it like Klause Meine. Then out of nowhere, the song is sped up and played in a punk way. I normally don’t like cover tracks but this one is done with enough originality that I have to give these guys (and gal) extra points for being brave enough to cover this rock classic.
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