Here’s one we made (a little) earlier – and its worth investigation now
Better known, perhaps, for his endeavours in Jizzy Pearl’s latest incarnation of Love/Hate and his work in Warrior Soul, Stevie R Pearce is an experienced performer. If there’s a glam rock icon he hasn’t toured with, then Lord knows who they are.
However, what is more pertinent to these 12 songs is the fact that in addition to all that work, Pearce is a songwriter in his own right and Stevie R Pearce And The Hooligans is the result.
This album was originally released last year, but now is being re-issued, so people like us who missed it the first time around can revel in its glory – believe us it is worth it.
And it doesn’t do quite what you’d expect it to either. Given his history, you’d imagine that Pearce’s solo work would be sleazier than Donald Trump’s search history, but whilst there are elements of that (so there should be, by the way) it is evident that this is an avenue for the guitarist to flex some creative muscles of his own away from the day jobs.
It all opens with “Bad Day” which sounds like it should have been on the last – brilliant – Warrior Soul record, as the four piece (Dave Sanders Rhythm Guitars, Lewis Clarke Bass, Richard Jones on drums join the guitarist/singer here) deliver a punk tinged hard rock assault that is somewhere north of Turbo-charged. A “whoa, whoa” hook will merrily worm its way into your head and stay there, while Pearce’s riffs have a real punch.
The second song “I’m Going Down” is arguably the sleaziest thing here, but its not the spandex clad Poison type stylings, rather these are the boys that weren’t looking for a good time, so much as to kick your face in if you spilt their pint and as if to empathise the point “Nobody Loves You” does its work with a real metal chug.
And with the pattern set, each one then goes off on its own little tangent. “You” not only borrows its first line from Coma but has sonics in common with GnR, while “Same Old Story” has a real blues kick, “Set My Soul On Fire” recalls the bands of the mid 1990s, and is more than happy to do so. Sort of what it would have been like if Jimmy Eat World had jammed with Honeycrack it is a real highlight.
Perhaps the best of the lot, though is “Can’t Turn Your Back On Blood” which has a real venom and undercurrent of violence – and yet all the while totally understands it is rock n roll and it should be fun.
But this bunch of hooligans are also fully prepared to have a breather. “Till Something Better Comes Along” is a real slow burner, and “Mama’s Door” has an almost old-time country feel at the start – you can imagine it on a White Stripes album, that’s for sure, such is its primal, earthy feel, while the punked up cover of “Fulsom Prison Blues” finds something in that classic that even Johnny himself probably didn’t know was there.
“Hooligan” is the almost eponymous effort, but it is almost their anthem too. It also rhymes “hooligan” with “won’t get fooled again” which is ace, whichever way you look at it. As, to be fair, is the last song “Doin’ Okay” with its intro that you think might turn into “Wanted (Dead Or Alive)” at any minute but roars away with vicious lyrics – only Pearce knows if they are autobiographical, but there feels like a catharsis here.
That song – and the others before it – are indicative of an artist that wanted to express himself on his own terms, away from the shadows of others. His time in the spotlight is well spent.