Mick Rhodes and the Hard Eight
Beer Drinking, Ass Wagglin’ Power-Pop on Steroids.
Formed in 2007 and not releasing their debut album until 2011 this band have certainly ‘paid their dues’ on the circuit, playing everything from that dive bar in the part of town were wise men fear to tread and playing Festivals in front of tens of thousands; and that experience comes across in every note on this belting tour de force.
I’m a bugger for opening songs catching my attention and from the punchy drum opening through the Hank B Marvin influenced guitar intro; through the pleading cry of singer Rhodes’ chorus, for the listener not “to fall in love with a married girl/married girls will break your heart.” Honestly; it’s gone straight into my Sound of the Summer I-Tunes playlist; and also already a contender for Song of the Year.
On songs like Last Summer, Under the Bustle and the anthemic Since You I want to say they remind me of early Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams; which they do; but when they were ‘cool’ and all you cared about was dancing to great music; and not caring a damn whether your pals would sneer at you.
Last Summer is a great example of Rhodes songwriting skills as it sounds like a meat and potatoes Blue Collar Rocker from New Jersey or the like; but it was written for and about his 96 year old Grandfather who was in a hospice and waiting slowly and painfully; but with great dignity for the end to come.
I don’t know what the band’s ambitions are; but they sound like one of those bar bands that you dream of stumbling across one wet and windy Friday night; but with powerful Gothic Rockers like Whisky Girl in their locker I’d be more than happy to see them in an Arena with all the glitz and razzmatazz a song like this deserves.
For me, Keep It Simple is probably my favourite track here; a fairly simple Rock Song with a blistering guitar solo that comes out of nowhere and the second song off the album to go on my Sound of the Summer playlist; sandwiched between Springsteen’s Girls in their Summer Clothes and ZZ Top’s Tush.
Oh how I long for the days when I could turn the radio on and songs like this would pour out, one after the other.
Released January 23rd 2016