Under Lock And Key, the third album by the hard rock band Dokken, arrived in late 1985 and was a top 40 entrant. It fit rightin with the hard rock happenings of the time. Motley Crue's Theatre Of Pain, Ratt's Invasion Of Your Privacy, and Asylum by Kiss are just examples of similar releases in 1985, all with varying types of success within the rock and roll landscape. Dokken had some success with their first their first two releases, especially the second album Tooth And Nail with the rocker Just Got Lucky and the power ballad Alone Again (one of my personal favorites from the era) but to me, they really came into their own with Under Lock And Key,
Not quite as heavy or raw as previous albums, lead guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson, drummer Mick Brown, and band namesake lead singer Don Dokken crafted together an album of melodic rockers, punchy riff laden tunes, and of course a couple of standard power ballads but in a slightly heavier vein. In My Dreams is probably the most well known song off this record with its a capella opening and a crunch going into the first verse but very much with a pop feel to it. It's been a staple of their live show since its release. Some of my favorites include The Hunter which Don's voice really sticks out, It's Not Love which has a chant like chorus, Slippin' Away and Jaded Heart which like I alluded to, are a little louder than your typical power ballad of the genre, the album opener Unchain The Night which starts out a little soft before kicking into a nice melodic rocker, Don't Lie
To Me (which is one of my favorite deep cuts from Dokken), and the all out balls to the wall Lightin' Strikes Again, which ended up being the title if their 2008 album.
Everyone gets their moment to shine on this release. Lynch shows off his superb guitar licks, Pilson's slick bass and background vocals are welcomed, Brown's drumming is steady, and Don's vocals are perfect for this album. He was never known as a world class singer but for Dokken, it's where it needs to be. Overall, a very solid Dokken release with a pop feel to it but not too light where you would not want to turn it up. It shows solid guitar work and a rhythm section that provides the quality backbone. Check it out.