The Datsuns - Death Rattle Boogie

by Miz DeShannon Rating:7 Release Date:2012-10-08

These New Zealanders have always been in the back of everyone's minds as purveyors of the most raucus rock 'n' roll. Their 2002 debut album was packed to the brim with full-on hits like 'Sittin' Pretty', 'In Love' and the fabulous glam-tastic 'Harmonic Generator'. But they're simply in the back of our minds because for some reason their last few albums don't appear to have been given much coverage, despite the band delivering the most awesome live performances, receiving few but great reviews and following the same full-on output of that first self-titled hard-hitter. On their fifth release, Death Rattle Boogie, they've not changed tack in the slightest, still throwing out unstoppable homage to the best classic and glam rock.

2011 single 'Gods Are Bored' is packed with typical melodic rock, along with a hooky chorus and drum beat. It's not the strongest on the album, but prepare yourself for more unforgiving noise. The driving rhythm and wah-wah riifs on 'Gold Halo' are like those 'Harmonic Generator' days all over again. Then there's the fantastically sexy, hip-grinding guitar solo of 'Axethrower'.

With soaring vocals on 'Bullseye' and double-layering in 'Skull Full of Bone', there's some maturity and prettiness creeping in, signs of growing despite still having those rock formulas to hand. 'Shadow Looms Large' seems a bit more filler but still doesn't lose any oompf, touching on a bit of glam rock with it's swing beat. Some down-time comes right in the middle of the album with the Doors-like drawling vocal and laid-back organ sounds of 'Wander the Night', but they can't resist throwing a huge riff right in the middle just to keep you on your toes.

Another filler track is 'Helping Hands', although it keeps the excitement coming with an upbeat punk tempo, while 'Hole in Your Head' and 'Fools Gold' are sadly a little weak, definitely the laziest tracks on the album by a mile and not half as powerful as the rest, lacking in soaring notes and the usual pizzazz. Honky-tonk piano on 'Goodbye Ghosts' brings back a bit of excitement, but 'Colour of the Moon' drops again - it's as though they got a bit tired halfway through this mammoth 14-track session.

Death Rattle Boogie sadly ends on a slight let-down. 'Death Of Me' closes with a moody cymbal crash what started as a heavy, unforgiving, raucus rock album with melodic yet in-your-face vocals, although the bluesy slide-guitar on 'Brain Tonic' is worthy of note.

Despite having their own sound, knowing what they are good at, liking what they do, there's not much depth to The Datsuns' knowledge. If not deviating from your tried and tested ways, releases have got to be about keeping up the tempo, the excitement, the interest. The middle of the Death Rattle Boogie betrays a little tiredness and a loss of ideas; all the formulaeic parts are still there. Maybe it wouldn't be so obvious had the better tracks been sprinkled throughout the album rather all at the beginning. But it's still good - maybe just re-order the way your iTunes plays things and all will be fine.

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