Melody Maker

Originally Published: March 15, 1975

Welcome To My Nightmare Album Review

Author: A. J.

Alice Cooper: "Welcome To My nightmare" (Anchor)

Well, here's another Alice Cooper album which will crawl off into the pile and take up a secluded residence besides rarely played copies of "Muscle Of Love", "Billion Dollar Babies" and so on back to "Love It To Death". I can't be bothered to get rid of them because there's always the lingering suspicion that if I did I'll suddenly be faced with a desperate desire to fling something like "Killer: on the record player for a quick blast of "Halo Of Flies" or "Under My Wheels". And there have been some classics produced during the last five years by Cooper and his bands (here as you will no doubt have read Alice has kissed off the remains of his old mob and brought in the talents of Lou Reed’s "Rock 'n' Roll Animal" outfit). Tracks like "Eighteen" of course, and "Be My Lover" and "School’s Out" still sound as crazed as ever, and it's that quality which is dramatically missing on "Welcome". Which is confusing, because the concept should have afforded Cooper the chance to slip into some pretty weird territory. All we've got though is a distinctly lame action replay of themes which have graced Alice's past albums. It would be too tedious to recount them all, but be assured they're all here – necrophilia, madness, murder, delinquency. The lot. And none of them benefit from the repetition. The first side is something of a disaster, saved only by Ezrin's production, the band, who are superb throughout, and Alice's vocals, which are as vitriolic as ever. The material however, is distressingly lame. "Devil's Food", for instance: "I felt the poison fright that's in your breath/I knew your precious like and I know your death," great stuff, eh Mongo? The guitars of Hunter and Wagner (the latter is featured extensively, and co-wrote six tracks) lend some air of grandeur to the proceedings, but the kind of grotesque, gothic horror which the album needs doesn't appear until half way through the second side with the introduction of "Steven" (which opens with a bizarre and humourous reference to "Tubular Bells"). Side two also has in it favour, an opening track, "Department Of Youth", a typical Cooper teen anthem (a cross between "Elected" and "School's Out") which is nevertheless Cooper at his inane best. Listen especially to the fade. Don't bother to listen to anything else. If you're in a hurry, "Welcome To My Nightmare" isn't the kind of album you’ll remember with any clarity in a year's time, and it doesn't deserve too much effort to acquaint oneself with its finer moments (all three of them). – A. J.