There’s a new wave going on. Some sort of a tsunami of bands of the gritty, down’n’dirty rock kind. Occupying spots US bands usually liked to sit on. And hearing them you would bet your money that they live around the dusty roads on the Mid to the South West.
Think again. Many of them have seen the US from afar at best. And you just wasted all your stereo power amps cruising along this Western highway. On some guys who were not born with stetsons on their heads and cowboy boots on their feet. Damn.
We are talking about The New Roses. And clearly, the accent, energy levels and tough guy attitude fit. They did not integrate some Harley-Davidson roar into their tune yet. I am sorely missing that, folks. But no moonshinin’ with these guys. This band will probably go for a beer or two. Or Appelwoi – their local brew. Did you already guess where they hail from? That’s right, Germany of all places. The outfit saw the light of day in 2007, but only started with their first EP in 2012. Since then they were busy with a gazillion shows throughout Europe and two full length albums.
Now, in the year of the lord 2017, The New Roses just unchained their newest and 3rd full length album One More For The Road. And here again the saying comes true: Never judge anything by its name or its looks. Ever. Because looking at the greenish punky cover art and the band name, this did not bode well. Or so I thought. How wrong.
The band sits straight at the crossroads between grimy Hard Rock and the laid-back airs of sun-drenched Southern Rock. And boy have they just avoided the ugly Glam Rock monster that sometimes peeks around the corner. Because some of that smacks of Bon Jovi and its terrible airs. And be sure to add a heavy dose of Axl Rose and his Guns’n’Roses from time to time. No pun intended from the band, I am sure. But more glam? Yikes. Yet Forever Never Comes serves as a prime example – and as proof – that The New Roses avoided that particular abyss nonetheless.
Then again, they rumble off to the stage with the lackadaisical attitude of Bear Bone Company and the snazzy drive of Last Bullet. At the same time they impose some (and I mean only some) of the rigor AC/DC usually displays. With some stuff that sounds like Krokus, but ain’t.
Now, all this calling of names in vain tells you that their style is for sure nothing new. And indeed it is not. We have all heard this before, now don’t we? But this is all about passionate delivery and the right groove. Once you start on One More For the Road you just dig the energy. The New Roses hack away with devotion at their tune. And rightly so. How would you really succeed without some emotion, authenticity and passion to pull the fans along?
One More For The Road however does sail dangerously close to these shark-infested copycat shores at times. Well, kind of, and it feels like a clever marketing move in my book. Creating this fleeting feeling of déjà-vu or more déjà-entendu, but not quite there neither. Like a smell of the past bringing back memories and still vague enough to keep interest levels up. But not strong enough to trigger emotions.
Want a sample? Blast off Dancing on a Razor Blade until you get to the chorus. Now fire up Krokus’ ‘Bedside Radio’ (Metal Rendez-Vous, 1980) and move to the chorus. What do you hear? Skillfully done, ain’t it? Just a trifle similar enough to trigger some remembrance. But with enough own juice, different melody and sufficient own riffing to make a difference. The record is full of them examples by the way. But in the end I don’t quite care if they went a-hunting for sound bytes or not. ‘Cause the deliciously rocky groove these guys so copiously pour on you is just irresistible.
The proof? The moment I hit My Own Worst Enemy – the #2 track – my soul was sold. One More For The Road just found a place in my music collection. And I? Ready to pump up the volume of my speakers, rest my boots on the rail and pour a beer down my parched throat.
I got a real kick out of the mid-tempo Life Ain’t Easy (For A Boy With Long Hair). The band takes off on some dusty alt-country-ish highway. With Timmy Rough grating away like young Steve Earle did back in Copperhead Road. About a teenage boy wanting to create a band, no less. Nice progression in there too. Slap Betty could not have done better – and them boys are masters at that trade.
Fight You Leaving Me is the only real ballad on this record. But hey, in the end The New Roses provide hot, steamy Southern-tinged Hard Rock for a living and no glamorous, cheese dripping feel good rock. And thank Loki for that.
It is unfortunate that the second half of the record somewhat cruises down filler road, even if none of the tracks are really bad. Yet it is the bonus tracks that will luckily set things to rights again. All three made of roughly hewn, razor sharp Hard Rock.
One More For The Road delivers a delightful, varied pot of blazing, sun-drenched Hard Rock smothered with Southern hot sauce. The grinding vocals, coupled with sturdy riffing, tasty solos and a tremendous groove will keep you in their grip until the last note is consumed. On top they come with a refreshing swagger that will put Halestorm to shame. This is outstanding rock’n’roll and many bands out there have difficulty making tasty ones like that. The New Roses just did. Well done, rock hard and play loud.
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