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Live and Learn

(Demolition; US: 30 Jan 2007; UK: 6 Nov 2006)

Nearly 20 years have passed since Vixen’s Richard Marx-penned breakthrough single “Edge of a Broken Heart”, and after going through enough confusing incarnations to give Pete Frame writer’s cramp, guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, the sole remaining member from the ‘80s heyday, has managed to assemble a lineup stable enough to perform on the retro-rawk circuit and yield the band’s first new studio effort in nine years. Nowhere near as slick as such high-gloss records as Vixen and Rev it Up were, and hampered by a rather tepid mix, Live and Learn doesn’t pack as many hooks as the band did way back when, but this foursome still does an admirable job at times. Kuehnemund’s guitar work dominates the record, her solos possessing a bite that was nonexistent on record in the late-‘80s, while tough-chick singer Jenna Sanz Agero brings an appealing blend of Pat Benatar and Stevie Nicks to the proceedings, with the combination working particularly well on such tracks as “Don’t Want it Anymore”, “Anyway”, “Live and Learn”, and the spirited cover of David Bowie’s “Suffragette City”. A fans-only disc, this album might not make much commercial headway, but the fact that Kuehnemund and her mates are having a blast starting from scratch makes Live and Learn all the more appealing, despite its shortcomings.


Adrien Begrand has been writing for PopMatters since 2002, and has been writing his monthly metal column Blood & Thunder since 2005. His writing has also appeared in Metal Edge, Sick Sounds, Metallian, graphic novelist Joel Orff's Strum and Drang: Great Moments in Rock 'n' Roll, Knoxville Voice, The Kerouac Quarterly,,, and A contributing writer for Decibel, Terrorizer, and Dominion magazines and senior writer for Hellbound, he resides, blogs, and does the Twitter thing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

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