2 THINGS and 118 OTHERS
Middle-Aged Kicks, So Hard To Beat!
Now that the World is really going to Hell in a handcart, RMHQ has cranked the office stereo up to 11 and decided that only nasty Rock & Roll will do for our daily soundtrack ……. and it’s fair to say The 81’s fit the bill perfectly well.
Basically a collaboration between songwriter and producer Thomas Sterling and Nashville stalwart Mr Timothy Carroll esq. plus a couple of mates. Somehow I missed their first two albums; but have made up for lost time playing the Bejasus out of this one over the last three days!
Opening track Michael (End of the Line) builds and builds like a sea fog, with Tim Carroll (metaphorically) cupping the microphone so you don’t miss a word as the searing guitars and pneumatic rhythm section try to blow the speakers behind him.
YAY! This is already my kinda Rock & Roll.
Bizarrely for Rock of this ilk, the actual songs are to the fore, courtesy of Sterling’s neat production and Carroll’s powerful drawl ……. listen or be damned!
She Don’t Want Me and Mind Bender remind me of 1980’s American Post-Punk; just before Grunge kicked in. There’s even a melody fighting through the somewhat dazed and confused haze; as Cameron Carrus uses his bass like it’s a blunt weapon.
I don’t think anyone here is fantasising about playing The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury or even Madison Square Garden; this is the type of sneering and sweaty music that is best heard in a dingy club with a light show bought off E-Bay and warm beer sold by the bottle.
Every song goes straight for your throat in a way I haven’t heard for years; although The Yayhoos and perhaps The Vandoliers probably come real close recently.
I can just about remember what it would feel like for a teenager to hear Four Way Stop or Nuke Laloosh for the very first time ……. you know? Eyes bulging and jaw hanging loose; then pressing ‘repeat’ 17 times in a row, until your Dad shouts “Turn that racket down!”
But; that’s not to say Dad’s won’t get this too; especially ones who still wear original Tom Petty or Neil Young t-shirts; especially Is This All You Got and Curb.
What to choose as a Favourite Song? Album closer Need To Believe is an obvious contender, and the hairy guitar solo will make your head swivel if you ever hear it on Planet Rock one afternoon; yet I also keep coming back to the brooding Camino de Santiago which coolly sits in the middle of the album and allows you to get your breath back; but with my fingers crossed I’m picking Hostage, for no other reason than it’s a great song wrapped in an even greater melody and backbeat ……. it ROCKS!
Back to the t-shirt ‘thing’; I despair when I see geezers my age wearing them featuring the bands they grew up listening to; as in general these people pay whole fortunes to see their heroes (accompanied by sidemen who weren’t even born when the hits were coming) at huge arenas; when bands like The 81’s are playing a bar or club across town for 10% of those crazy ticket prices; and are a damn sight more relevent in every which way.
Check out The 81’s ……. they will Rock your socks off.
Released March 27th 2020.