….or forget the world is going to hell in a handbasket for a little while
Way back in the dim and distant past – it was before the internet kids, that’s how long we are talking – MV owned a video cassette (any readers under 30 ask your nan, yeah?) of the band Poison. Glam, and spandex abounded. They were derided by the critics and loved by me. On the video, the band’s singer Brett Michaels explained their music was for those (and we paraphrase) who had a shit job and wanted to escape for a while.
The subtext of all this was clear: Bob Dylan wanted to make music that changed the world (and lest there be any confusion, MV loves Bob too), others wanted to make it smile for a little while.
30 years on come Audrey Horne. And whilst the days of “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” are miles behind us, the ethos of “Blackout” is just the same. And the musical ideas can’t be arsed with modernity either, thanks.
Essentially carrying on where 2014’s “Pure Heavy” left off, this is unashamed, unabashed and undiminished F.U.N.
It makes it’s declaration – it’s battle lines – if you will, known very early on. “This Is War” is basically what it would be like if it was 1983 again and early Bruce era Maiden and early Motley got together for a jam, it’s hedonistic and it doesn’t care.
They follow this up with first single “Audrevolution” which has a chorus that stomps all over anything puny. It’s heavyweight, but it has a shiny, glam thing going on that is quite marvellous, it is – if the hard rock buying world had any sense – an anthem.
If that’s the first two songs, then, brother, this baby is only getting started. We assume that it will not come as a shock to anyone involved in the title track that it sounds a bit like Thin Lizzy, but nonetheless, the way the guitars of Arve Isdal and Thomas Tofthagen (who are also in death metal bands when they aren’t being rock gods) mesh is somewhere between glorious Gorham and radiant Robbo, and just for good measure, the damn thing has cowbell in it, goddammit.
Now, as everyone with a brain – or ears – knows, all great Hard Rock should sound like the greatest of them all, so the sun dappled “This Man”, a wonderful mid-paced thing, also has a Lizzy strand – as well as gorgeous harmonies, and just in case you thought that this couldn’t get the party started any more than it has, then along comes “Midnight Man” which starts with Torkjell Rød singing about his hangover. Do you think he regrets the night before? Does he bollocks!
As for the rest of them, well, “Light Your Way” starts with a drum solo in case you think this isn’t the most rock n roll album since, well, the last Audrey Horne one, and to say they are kicking things old school doesn’t really do this justice – and the Deep Purple style organ break is a real neat touch from these (highway) stars.
“California” is a homage to what is probably their spiritual home, the suggestion that you should “throw yourselves into the neon lights” is lost on no one, and the screeching solo only reinforces that feel.
Then there’s “Satellite”. On one hand it is a left turn with its electro stomp, but it doesn’t half sound massive and superbly funky and given that it is has a hook big enough to hang your coat on, it fits in perfectly.
The fact this is 10 songs long is also perfect. The last two amount to a quick reprise, “Naysayer” is the best the NWOBHM track you haven’t heard yet and the closing “Rose Alley” is surely a nod to that Bob Seegar song that Phil Lynott and the lads used to cover.
That last song sounds like it was recorded live, and sounds like the most fun house party you haven’t been invited to.
So, how to sum this up? Well, look at the bands we’ve mentioned here. Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Motley Crue, Deep Purple (and you can add in some Kiss too while you’re at it). Like Poison might have said this ain’t nothin’ but a good time. Get ready for the blackout – it’s so good you will probably get the horne.