Draw the Line is Aerosmiths 5th studio album and was released in June 1977, just one year after their ‘prime record’, Rocks. Considering it to be the follow up the their best rated album, you would have thought it to be again highly rated? Wrong! This album was absolutely slated by the critics, and even to this day is very underrated by fans. The album is built up of simple, yet effective hooks that are really in your face throughout the entrire record.
The trobules occuring back stage most definately contributed to the uniqueness of the album from their previous works. Nothing came similar before it and nothing has come similar since. One of the most noticeable areas where something appeas to be going wrong are in the credits. Where we would normally see most, or all of the songs written by the Tyler/Perry combo, we now only see a mere three. This was an indication of the growing tension between the two band members.
The album was recorded in a disused monastrey in New York state. which has given the recording a very rough sound. The sound of which can be compared to 60’s Rolling Stones records. Although not confirmed it could have been a deliberate attempt to recreate that sound, that the band were inspired by in the earlier days. Either way the sound surely suits the tracks.
The opening track, Draw the line is perhaps the most memorable riff on the album and is a great example of the rough edge to the music. It employs an almost embarrasingly simple guitar riff at a perfect tempo. Brillaint track! Although it’s not Tylers best vocal attempts, without his earthy scream it wouldn’t have the same effect.
The following track, I wanna know why, doesn’t have quite the same appeal as he previous, and Tylers vocals leave a lot to be desired. The track would probalby be much more suited to an instrumental, giveing a chance to hear the guitar and Tylers piano backing.
Critical Mass goes back to the blues/rock combination of their earlier days. Again though, Tyler does let down a little on the vocals, and the guitar is very quiet. As said in other reviews, the guitar seems almost deliberately dampened, which is a shame.
The next track, Get it up is somewhat average but still has a easily memorable melody, and Tylers voacls are slightly clearer but still not up to his standards.
Bright light fright is a refeshing change, with Perry as lead vocals. The track again is a bluesy style, with a wall of sound when played.
The B side starts with a very experimental track, Kings and Queens. It could be experimental rock on its own and has quite an interesting riff and vocals. It is probably the Gem of the record along with Draw the Line. The guitar is very clear on the track and Tylers vocals are much clearer although dampened. The lyrics themselves are also much more creative than the others found on the album and are ib a way, more complex and interesting.
The Hand that Feeds is the follow up and in my opinion is the most underrated track on Draw the line. The tracks main guitar is even simpler than Draw the line if that was ever possible, but the vocals are much more improved and there is a sense of power in there. You feel as though the band are making more of an effort and they really ‘mean it’. Tyler really uses his trademark scream to its full potential to match up to the simple and proud guitar track.
Sight for sore eyes is my personal favourite on the album and performs great live. It has all the catchy elements of the previous tracks but there is again a feeling that the band are performing and mean it. Without Sight for sore eyes the album has the potential to be dull, and for all the negative comments it already receives it would be disasterous. Playing the record through from start to finish, this is the one you always seem to remember, most probably due to the hypnotic chorus, melody at the end.
To conclude the record is the Milk Cow Blues, a cover of a blues track that is well executed from the original. Again, very catchy and the guitar is brilliant from start to end. The album probably wouldn’t miss this song but it is a great addition never the less.
Although I admit it is perhaps not their best work it is very underrated and deserves much more credit. Without it who knows where the band would be now?
I reccomend this to any rock lover and I advise you hear it on an analogue recording, whether it be record or cassette just to give it an extra raw sound.