ALL NIGHT LONG- The Casanovas (Rubber)
The Casanovas have followed their self-titled debut CD with an 11-track dose of their distinctive take on hard rock. This time out, however, it's arguably a more diverse musical blueprint that reflects a wider range of influences.
"Born to Run" opens the disc with some high-energy hard rock, with bassist Damien Campbell on vocals (and he handles the majority of vocal duties throughout). Despite the similarity in title to a certain song by "The Boss", it works and features some trademark Tommy "Love" Boyce lead guitar work, as the now well established rhythm section of Campbell and Jaws Stanley lock in behind him. It is reminiscent of "One More Time" and is followed by some Oz rock/boogie-inspired stuff on "Shame on You" (with guest horns from Scott Durbin, James Pierce and Ted Tasoro).
"California" and the title track are musical departures with the former showing a greater focus on vocals and harmonies and the latter featuring
some guitar work which at times (not so surprisingly, when considering the title and lyrical content) with psychedlic overtones. The band describes its yearning to make its way back to relative anonymity and the sunnier parts of the West Coast in the US.
"I Don't Want You Back", "Too Much" and "Heartbreaker" all raise the tempo considerably and prove this band can rarely be matched in the high energy/hard rock stocks. "Doghouse Blues" continues through personal lyrical territory and describes where some men may wind up for their indiscretions. "Ain't Coming Down" falls back onto some especially sharp and insistent rock 'n' roll. The band then pull s out its hard rockin' take on the Sam and Dave (via ZZ Top and The Powder Monkeys) classic "I Thank You" which proves to be far more than just a tribute to either of these seminal hard rock bands.
"Overload" closes proceedings with some solid glam/hard rock with some classic guitarwork that rates as highly as any you'll hear on this disc.
"All Night Long" also comes in a limited edition CD and DVD version, with the visuals being the video clip for "Born to Run" and the newly expanded band (with recently-added second guitarist Keelan Gallogly, ex-Cockfight Shootout) performing "Doghouse Blues", "Too Much", "Shake It" and "Nasty".
More than a one-night stand, "All Night Long" should satisfy for much longer. - Simon Li
THE CASANOVAS - The Casanovas (Rubber/Shock)
The debut, self-titled album from Melbourne-based band The Casanovas has finally arrived. It will satisfy many, and have a select few pondering what might have been.
The album features the current lineup of Tommy "Love" Boyce on guitar and vocals, Damian Campbell (ex-Mustang) on bass and vocals and Jordan "Jaws" Stanley (ex-Onyas) on drums. Original drummer (and Tommy's brother) Patrick "Paddy Downstairs" Boyce also appeara on several tracks.
The single "Livin' in the City" kicks off the album in a decidedly '80s LA glam rock vein, as Tommy Love tells us about the good and the band that come with being a big city citizen. "Break Your Heart" features the band in full-on '70s boogie rock mode, complete with tasty slide guitar. Previous singles "No Time For Love" (in a re-worked version) and "Shake It" appear and are the band's best original compositions.
If you've read various press raves about the band you'll know that much is made about the profound influence that AC-DC have had on The 'Novas. It is arguably most apparent on tracks such like "Runnin' So Late" and "One More Time" (the latter also re-worked somewhat compared to when I saw this played live in 2000). The LA glam rock sound made famous by the likes of Van Halen and Guns-n-Roses is also evident on "Heartbeat" and "Strange Dreams".
The album closes with the debut single "10 Outta 10" (also re-worked).
For those aware of the band, this album does not disappoint. It proves that the Casanovas can match anything Sweden (yes, The Hives, that means you) or New York (yes, The Strokes, that means you) could produce. But for me, there's a touch of disappointment that older tunes such as "Rock-n-Forever", "Baby, Don't You Leave Me" and "Wesley Girls" don't appear.
Despite such misgivings, The Casanovas' debut is a monumental Australian guitar rock album which few can or will match in a hurry. - Simon Li
...KEEP IT HOT - The Casanovas (Rubber Music/Shock Records)
Everyone has a piece of dodgy '70s rock detritus hanging around the vinyl collection or in the back of the collective consciousness. There's a song that gets dragged out only at parties or otherwise doggedly sits in the memory bank, seemingly never to disappear - like a dubious porno cookie in a browser cache. Listen up to the Casanovas and lose your shame. This is the band for you. This is the band to put the Cock back into Rock.
The Casanovas are from Melbourne and are unashamedly 1975, sans the big hair and silly outfits. If Countdown was still around, these guys would be weekly guests, mugging and leering at the 15-year-olds - fuck no, they'd be hosting it. They play it straight but there's a niggling sense that they're extracting the piss, big-time. From the macho swagger of the faux "Bloodbrothers" front cover (no wonder they scored supports on the recent Dictators tour) to the shameless lyrics of "Keep it Hot" ("I'm burnin' rubber, drivin' down the road/My top's throbbin' and it's gonna blow"), this is a band that's staring at greatness in the rear vision mirror and sees only a good time, a couple of chicks and a six pack in the Monaro staring back.
Musically, singer-guitarist Tommy Boyce (aka Tommy Love) wields a mean plectrum (shades of Angus Young and Ross the Boss) and has a great set of pipes with power and range, reaching up there into Steve Lucas territory on "10 Outta 10" ( a sort of updated "Hot for Teacher" and the band's anthemic single.) His bandmates (bro' Patrick Boyce on skins and the since-departed Jimmy Lewis on bass) match him for rock solidity. The songs stand repeated listenings too.
Unashamedly retro rock that would go well with 99 cent Spumante or warm Cinzano at a school disco. Gotta hear more of these guys in a hurry. - The Barman
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