Hang on a Second – Them Dead Beats (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

17021804_1908024782766215_8556527798649675957_nIt may be a very simple idea, but as is often the case with simple ideas, it’s a good one, namely take the groove and grit of blues and give it the scuzzy garage rock treatment. It worked for their previous release, Give Us A Minute, and it works here too. And just as before, the saleability of such a simple and oft visited genre clash is the songs themselves, after all anyone can drive the blues-rock car off of the cliff of convention but the art is ending up with something which is more Thelma and Louise’s dramatic swansong and less a short traffic report on page 7 of the local newspaper.

Thankfully drama is never in short supply here. Roll With Me is apocalyptic burlesque blues, the soundtrack to that final party as you watch the mushroom clouds blow away all evidence that we were even here and 1959 is the mutant offspring of John Lee Hooker and The Birthday Party…raw, visceral, scary and addictive. All I Need is a strange hybrid of The Coral’s mercurial old time sing along style and a strange pop edge buried in their usual guitar onslaught but it is the  opening brace of songs Change and Get Mine that represent their signature sound, the bruising tumble of jagged guitars, howling harmonica’s and a vocal which, try as I might, I can’t help but picturing Nick Helm on the other end of. Weird?

Yes, they may be exploring the same musical territory they did first time out, but why not? As the record proves there is still a lot of great work to be done here and these are the chaps to do it. They join dots between Memphis in 1956, Detroit in 1969 and New York in 1977 and at a time when “rock” has become polished, defined, packaged and refined to within an inch of its skinny-jeaned and complicated hair-styled life, maybe it is time to turn back to “rock and roll” for our kicks. There is no denying that underneath all the jagged edges and punk rock sonic poses, that is essentially what this is.

It’s elemental; it’s out of control but just enough in check, it’s savage, stroppy, sweet and sour, and slightly silly…but never a joke. Rock and roll is serious business and it looks like it is back on the menu. Who’s for Seconds?

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About Dave Franklin

Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.
This entry was posted in blues, garage rock, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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