Friday, 10 December 2010

Online Music Journalaism: Straight Razor Angels abum review

Straight Razor Angels - Straight Razor Angels

By Robyn Simmons
Straight Razor Angels
Straight Razor Angels
Having stomped it up with The Meteors and cooled it down with The Puppini Sisters, Straight Razor Angels already pack a punch on the rockabilly scene. Believe it or not, their self-titled album is their first studio venture, but can it live up to the band’s live accomplishments?

‘Straight Razor Angels’ certainly opens with true rockabilly punk attitude. Vampy guitar and snappy drums drive ‘On the Pull’ like a greasy six litre hotrod across town. Its hard-hitting rhythm will have listeners immediately stamping their toes and fantasising about decades past. Despite this, the following tracks, however, don’t quite fulfil the expectations that the first track instils. We want more loud, heavy drums and gutsy guitar; more contagiously catchy, slightly manic and ever so relentless noise that only the vigour of youth will ever understand. But we don’t quite get that; at least not until Straight Razor Angels steer the album back to the chaotic, country-twinged ‘Bad Times’, which sets the record back on that dusty southern road to rockabilly for the final tracks.

In the meantime, Straight Razor Angels deviate from the traditional, which may not be to everyone’s taste. Those who give the album a listen expecting a Stray Cats-like devotion to the likes of Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash are likely to be left feeling a little empty. Everyone else though, for whom nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll is a novelty and perhaps even a gimmick, these tracks can offer a little relief. After all, how many times can you listen to ten tracks of unyieldingly persistent thumps, clatters and riffs until boredom sets in? Their detour means that they deftly dodge the trap of typecasting whilst keeping their raw, rough and ready sound. ‘Dirty Hotel’ and ‘Black Clouds’ have a much more contemporary feel about them and are unexpected additions to their repertoire. No doubt tracks such as these got them their place on the tour bus with UK Subs and The Cribs where they can express themselves free of Brylcreem and engine oil.

Rockabilly die-hards who might be disgruntled by the band’s dabbling in the contemporary should see Straight Razor Angels as a fantastic opportunity. Their tours with popular indie bands mean that just like Brian Setzer and friends during the 80s, they bring the likes of Gene Vincent to the next generation and their debut captures this without becoming a predictable covers album.

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