Buckcherry: Rock N Roll (F-Bomb Records)
Buckcherry's continuing transformation into one of America's biggest bands reaches it's latest stage on Rock N Roll which surprisingly is just that, after dabbling with a bit of a concept on Confessions it was their Fuck E.P that brought back the bawdy, naughty, swaggering danger that Buckcherry's music has always delivered. On Rock N Roll the band have brought back that rock again with songs like Bring It On Back, The Madness but they have also fleshed out their sound with horns on the brilliantly filthy Tight Pants, some country-like organs that err on the Bon Jovi style The Feeling Never Dies and a mix of heavy and light on Cradle which echoes Aerosmith's Living On The Edge. In fact the album seems to experiment a bit in the middle before rocking up in the final part with Wood, Sex Appeal all coming from the faster, furious play book with only Rain's Falling slowing things down with it's emotive almost lounge bar balladic style. This album doesn't outstay it's welcome it's straight in bash you about the head, get you hips swaying and runs it's hands up your girlfriends dress, just over 38 minutes it's just how a rock album should be. This album mixes up Buckcherry's sound perfectly and takes them further on their journey (much like latter day Aerosmith) with a mix of soul, blues, funk all coming together, these obviously are all the component elements of rock n roll, this is a tribute to rocks influences and for the most part is a stripped back organic affair. Yet again Josh Todd is on top form, sneering, and snarling like the rock gods of old, he is every bit a rock n roll frontman, Keith Nelson and Stevie D provide perfect guitars with a loucheness and a chugging jagged edge backed by the rumbling rhythm section of Xaiver Muriel and Kelly LeMieux. Buckcherry are back on course now let's have a party!! 8/10
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: S/T (Stax)
Nathaniel Rateliff is a singer songwriter from Missouri, he has released a few solo records which showcased his songwriting talent and his folk roots, however he has now found himself a band (called The Night Sweats) and has all but changed his sound making it bigger and indeed better. Look at the record label that this record is on, yes that is THE Stax records home of Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding amongst other soul legends, Stax was the home of soul and funk and as such I don't need to tell you what Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats sounds like, this is soul music at it's most authentic with real passion and emotion behind it. I Need Never Get Old is the opener and it has the same jogging bass as Keep On Running by Spencer Davis Group with some reverbed guitar and parping brass to really get you grooving, the whole song echoes with power and it's here you get the first listen to Rateliff's amazing vocals, part whiskey barfly, part revival minister; his rawness fits the music perfectly, he has real sadness in the quieter parts but roars like a lion in the louder parts. I Need Never Get Old is the best opener and album like this can have immediately throwing you into those heady glory days of Stax, Look It Here is this tracks equal in terms of throw your hands in the air and sing it loud glee. Things inevitably slow down on Howling At Nothing as it has the swaying doo-wop beat that Ben E King would have crooned over, while also having a searing guitar solo that opens this records rock roots to.
Rateliff's band is superb they are all top notch players from the shuffling drums, through the bone rattling bass the rhythm section forces you to boogie while the guitars drive the songs along meaning the piano/organs as well as the horn section can flesh things out to really give you that classic soul vibe. I've Been Falling is the kind of song that would be playing in spit and sawdust late night bar, where you drink the pain away, before S.O.B is the tale of lament that follows off set by the humming, clapping verses and fractious guitar fuelled choruses. This album not only tries to sound like the records of old, it actually does the production is analogue with the right amount of hiss and pop to suspend your disbelief that this is vinyl, this album is pure R&B (the old kind) but the singer songwriter roots are still there, the lyrics are introspective and deal with all manner of hardships it's just the music that blind sides you into happier territory, however Wasting Time is the perfect example of this albums unrequited sadness with country & western slide guitar bringing to mind early Eagles while the vocals and drums sync beautifully, while Thank You is deep in the belly of the blues and I'd Be Waiting has a smoky blues backing (and some cymbal action that Santana would love). With so many influences on this record it's hard to find anyone that won't like at least one song on this album, no it's not metal, it's not even rock for the most part but it has the unrequited passion that any musical lover will identify with, it's an album of real music played with dedication, sophistication and flair. In a world full of posers and manufactured music Nathaniel Rateliff and his Night Sweats take you back to the heady days when real music mattered. BUY IT! 10/10
Biters: Electric Blood (Earache)
From swaggering American arena rock, to another band that follows the poppier style of hard rock favoured by fellow yanks Cheap Trick although established by Slade, The Sweet and Ziggy-era Bowie. Yes folks Biters are a glam styled band ready to give a short, sharp shock on their second album, as Restless Hearts starts things off with it's Cheap Trick with and AC/DC riff you know exactly what you are going to get, this glam rock with a punk sneer buoyed by an attitude and sneer all wrapped up in a bubblegum sheen. 1975 is a song that perfectly sums up the year as it harks back to Bowie, partly because of frontman Tuk's great vocals topping the strutting rock of the title track as well as the the punky bite of The Kids Ain't Alright which is a track filled with bravado and a piano exit that continues on the bar-room boogie of Low Lives In High Definition which is a T.V throwing ode to teenage rebellion while Space Age Wastelands has same guitar tone that Mr Lynott and co used to do back in the day. This album whizzes around like a sherbet dip-dab (one for the oldies) with 10 concise tracks of leather clad rock n roll that breeze by with a riotus punch, Tuk and Matt play with fire and flair while the rhythm section of Phillip and Joey provide the one-two back beat. Keep and eye out for Biters as they maybe tearing up a venue near you soon! 8/10