START YOUR ENGINES WITH THE ANTARES - The Antares (Zodiac Killer Records)
Italian rock and roll can be hit-or-miss. There are a lot of toilets posing as recording studios (not a problem in itself - except when they're public) and a worryingly high proportion of bands seem to be into metal of the heavy or death variety. The good news is that The Antares don't seem to hang out around the urinals or to like .
The Antares play flat-out guitar music that's as much rock as it is punk. That might need explanation. You know how vomit always contains carrots, no matter what you've eaten? Music from the greased back, stripped down spectrum of late '50s rock is The Antares' version of carrots.
Hopefully, the vomit reference hasn't put anyone off their lunch because The Antares are very palatable Rock Action. "Start Your Engines..." is just 10 songs in 30 minutes but what a rockin' half-hour it is.
The Antares are a trio who kick the shit out of their songs with barely controlled abandon. There's nowhere to hide in a three-piece band and none of them need to. The guitar is fat-sounding and right up-front, the singer blurts it out with no affectations and the drummer nails the beat with more than a little swing, especially on "So What (Bout Our Rock n Roll)."
Fans of tear-me-a-new-arsehole guitar will like what they hear. There are more arpeggios than a chord repair shop but they're reeled off like a six-string machine gun rather than a Steve Vai There are no surprises here but it'd be a shock if you could point your finger at something in the rock and roll sewer line that is.
Opener "Seek You Down In Hell" is a scene-setter. Its deceptively-buried drum pattern intro slides into a full-on ragged assault that batters the ears in the best way. From then on in, the rock doesn't drop with "16 Was Too Much", "Hard Cock Blues" and the showy but solid instro "Start Your Engines" all stand-outs.
There were no metronomes used on this record. I know because the CD slick tells me so. I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear that. That's cool. If you're going to be a cock rocker, wear the badge on your sleeve. - The Barman
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