THE DARK PLACE – The Dangermen (Merenoise)
Two songs into their second album and I hereby christen “Surf Left Alright!” by Brisbane noiseniks The Dangermen to be THE surf punk toon of an admittedly very young 2007. It’s all singalong chorus and dirty shore-dump guitar that’s more Mummies than Dick Dale. You can’t see many waves from Queen Street Mall, but then none of the band members have peroxide hair and their pallor looks ike a side effect of hanging out in too many dingy Fortitude Valley drinking holes.

The Dangermen don’t do anything fancy except tune down their guitars and turn up the fuzz, but it’s exactly the sort of fodder that’s been feeding pub band scenes from Chicago to Chermside for nigh on 30 years. Long may it be so. Simple chord changes played well will always have a home where there are disaffected ears that care and these boys mix it up just enough around the edges to keep it interesting.

No offence intended (and for all I know he’s a nuclear physicist), but there’s something reassuring in Zoltane The Maniac’s sneering vocal delivery that reeks of a life influenced by too many Dead Boys records and a failed career in animal experimentation. On a similar line I’m thinking medicine probably isn’t a calling for Doctor Rock, who more likely has a degree in six-string-ology and a major in Fourex beer. His alternatively choppy and snaking guitar-work lifts a song like “Suicide Girl”, while it’s the diamond hard riffing in “Our Respect” (and a rippling lead break) that wins mine.  

If “Surf Left Alright!” is a killer track and a giant Cowabunga in the eye for waxheads everywhere, “Metrosexual Superstar” broadens the attack to take in yuppies. Easy targets, but it must work. Have you ever heard a credible song defending the fuckers? Thought not. But enough digression. “Twenty Four Seven” is cut from the same cloth, with an “are-you-paying-attention-up-the-back” chorus that’d wake the dead - or what passes for same in some of the sticky carpet joints I hang out in.  

We copped some pushback from Brisbane for a review of the first Dangermen album that likened them to the early Saints. “Elizabeth Arcade (Circa 1992)” does nothing to lessen that load with a riff vaguely recalling “Erotic Neurotic”. Better a Saint than a schmuck. “Burnout” and “Time Waster” also sing out a song that goes “Petrie Terrace 1975”, so sue me. It's not a comment on originality this time out, more a reflection of the shadow that still looms large over Brisbane.  

It’s all nice gritty stuff. The title track paradoxically lightens up a touch with a bright Doctor Rock guitar figure underlaid by keyboards from guest player Jane Von Danger. Zoltane’s lyrics give the game away – these Dangermen are more at home singing about the seamier side of life.  - The Barman




SUMMER OF DANGER - The DangerMen (Wild Eagle)
On a superficial level, I liked this album. The guitars are fast and furious, the vocals grate and groan in true punk tradition, and the rhythm section robust and brutal.

That said, this album is about as original as any of the local Big Brother shows, or indeed anything that includes "reality television" in the product description. On one level, it is a naked rip-off of the Ed Kuepper's buzzsaw guitar attacks, Chris Bailey's pub lifestyle ravaged vocals and Ivor Hay's warp speed drums. The opening track, "Shipwrecked", is the high water mark of artistic derivation, with the lyrics barely deviating from "Stranded" (the title itself is an acquatic variation on the original), while We Are the Dangermen continues the long standing punk rock tradition of eponymous theme songs. The rest of the album rarely drops below 90 mph, but equally never strays from the Kuepper/Bailey genre.

On another level, this recording celebrates the brash, snotty, fuck you, rock 'n' roll squawl in a dirty pub sound that the Saints pummelled out in their punk rock hey day. It's a reasonable assertion that most contemporary music owes a debt to earlier artists (indeed, Led Zeppelin is regarded by some to be the most successful tribute band ever to walk the rock 'n' roll earth).

There's nothing pretentious about the Dangermen's music – it's just loud slacker punk rock'n'roll with its influences tattooed in the band's forehead. And the schlock 1950s horror film sleeve design is simplistic and tacky, and in keeping with the broader pop cultural context of slacker punk. If you don't care about originality, then the music is enjoyable.

Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery. If that's the case, The Saints should be bowled over with endless commendations and tributes everytime this CD is played. But, as others less diplomatic than me might suggest, imitation is the soft end of plagiarism, then this CD is merely a glorified tribute album. - Patrick Emery



1/2



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