BLACK LEATHER SOUL - Angus Khan (Nickel and Dime Records)
The absence of immediately obvious irony put me off LA biker band Angus Khan on initial listens. Excuse me for that - I was inadvertently exposed to some Molly Hatchet via a Spanish TV broadcast so my tolerance levels were depleted. But lighten up - there's actually a deal of good humour at the heart of "Black Leather Soul" - even if the band's not playing it strictly for laughs.

If drawing membership from the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, ADZ and B-Movie Rats isn't enough to prick interest, then the barrage of crunching riffs and Aerosmith-and-AC/DC-meet-the-Raw-Power-Stooges might. Guitarists Frank Meyer (Streetwalkin' Cheetahs) and Bruce Duff (ADZ) produced "Black Leather Soul" so it's no surprise that it's chockfull of rifferfama. These gents possess good ears and deft fretboard fingers.

What is an ear-opener is their choice of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band's glam groove creeper, "Midnight Moses", as an opener. It's an inspired selection that' weaves a web of heavy-duty guitar interplay.

Singer Derek Christensen sounds uncannily like Bon Scott when he has to ("Call Me Motherfucker") and elsewhere plays the long-haired biker dude role well. While I'm at a loss to understand why so many Americans worship a one-trick pony act like AC/DC I have to admit that "Big Balls" (an Angus Khan original, not a cover) sounds like today's Acca Dacca should.

There's a big nod to Rose Tattoo in the slide guitar on "Silver And Green" and bits of the horrible Motley Crew al over the place. (Hate their music, liked their book.). "On The Run" kick-starts with a burst of motorcycle engine noise before launching into a Motorhead-styled trip with sharp melody. "Exile On Mean Street" puts me in mind of the Rosie Tatts' "Astra Wally" and Manitoba's Wild Kingdom's "Speedball". Duff's "Chainsaw Betty" might even be a rejoinder to the Tatts' "Nice Boys" if it wasn't about Cherie Currie.

Appearances can be deceptive. "Bop City" shapes as an excursion into shallow pop waters, but there's a monster groove at the core that bends it into a raunchy Stones blast, especially at the point when a greasy harmonica kicks in.

While some of the sounds take "Black Leather Soul" towards heavy metal, the dirty-and-drily-recorded tones of "Scene Bitch" should disabuse you of most of that notion. And so much for not playing for laughs; I almost forgot the full-tilt punk-boogie of "Hot Pants" which features fuck-me-babe lyrics that the Crew would steal if they weren't nailed down.

Were Kim Fowley's ears burning when the band recorded the creeping "Black Leather Soul"? Written for an aborted Cherie Currie project, it's a squalling ball of menace that lyrically puts Angus Khan in the ex-Runaways Svengali's Beatle boots.

Hey Flintstone - there's enough rock on this disc to fill a Bedrock quarry. Be careful, you might like it. - The Barman


 

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