Share ADULT LOOSE - Gun Street Girls (Matterhorn/MGM)
It would be a crime worthy of removal of the testes with a blunt butter knife to use a cliche like "Gun Street Girls have gotten serious" in a review of their second album. I don't read Rolling Stone if I can avoid it these days but that's the sort of thing they'd write about "Adult Loose", I'm sure, because to paraphrase one of the songs here, That's The Kind Of Fuckers They Are.
Let's agree that we (you and me) don't give a fuck about anyone "getting serious", and that this is a seriously good Oz Rock record - and that's not using the term in a derisory way. Dave Larkin (Dallas Crane) bawls away in his patented, gravel-rash voice while bassist Dave Buttwerworth and drummer Callum Barter (both ex-Double Agents) kick out dirty swinging grooves. It's a scrappier, less refined sound than their debut and that's reassuring in a world where most musical things are turds that are polished within an inch of their lives.
Opening your album with an instro' is a brave move and "Casey's Good Fortune" is nice but relatively sleepy compared to what follows. Consider track two: "Johnny's Down For The Count" is surf-tinged guitar married to a frantic vocal and a frenetic beat. Lest you think this is setting the scene for another "head-down-arse-up-and-sprint-to-the-bar-to-sink-more-piss" kinda record, "Disappointing Friends" switches the mood to piano-flecked Faces-style ballad with a swinging bottom end. Confused? "Pray For Me Now" is a raucous country rock shuffle and "Won't Be No Next Time" a smouldering blues-rock ached. You wanted hip hop? Outta luck, fella.
Let's pose a serious question now and you can tell us the last time you heard harmonica on a contemporary Aussie record that didn't suck? "The Kind Of Fucker You Are" squeezes in some fine harp along with some bawdy humour. A man can't ask for much more than that when they're wedded to a good song, can he?
"As Good As It's Ever Gonna Get" gives bassist Butterworth a chance to flex his vocal chords on a song he wrote and it's a solid piece sprayed with some twisted Larkin guitar. Larkin reclaims his mic for "Tell It Like It Is" and if it's a relatively low-key closer it's still not a bad way to put a lid on a varied, well-crafted album.
"Adult Loose" (is the rooster on the cover meant to indicate cock rock?) won't cause stars to fall from the sky when you walk by but Burt Bacharach already nailed that one. Like an old Humble Pie or Coloured Balls LP it might bring a wry smile to the wrinkled face of an old rocker or three. More power to Gun Street Girls for doing that. - The Barman
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GUN STREET GIRLS - Gun Street Girls (Matterhorn/MGM)
Pub rock lives eternal in Oz - even if there are fewer places left in which these sorta bands can ply their trade. So what makes this self-titled debut by Gun Street Girls worthwhile? Glad you asked...
While many in the fitful local parade of boogie-and blues-based never-gonna-make-its simply don't reach any heights, Gun Street Girls punch out melodies like lesser entities punch time cards in dead-end rehearsal studios. So it's the songs, stupid.
GSG have one other advantage of course: Vocalist-guitarist Dave Larkin is a "name", moonlighting from the on-hiatus Dallas Crane and recruiting a willing engine room in drummer Callum Barter and bassist Diamond Dave Butterworth, both ex-Double Agents. The trio gels well and what could have been rote rockers swing with a sharp edge.
Larkin has a raucous and powerful vocal that (for me) sits on this side of annoying. Hey, I'm a garagey sorta guy. So yeah, I'm gonna notice him talking on his phone on the train to the office but he's not going piss me off by sounding like Robert Plant getting his lemon squeezed a day after the local GP has given him the snip. One man's Stevie Marriott is another's Barnesy, and I've warmed to Dave over the course of playing this album quite a few times.
The reason it's been on hi-rotation has been the songs. Despite its nod to the hip kids in the catchphrase/title, "How I Roll" is a big, loping bear of a tune. "One Slip Away" gets all Blue Oyster Cultish before opening up and barrelling down the highway (at moderate pace, it must be said.) "The May Disease" is the mid-set wide vista song where those in the audience who are true bogans strike up their lighter/activate their iPhone and sway in unison. And "Millennium Man" is the hip-shaker, the killer pop-rock app that goes for broke in the mainstream radio stakes.
Putting opinions of Larkin's other band to one side (and I'm indifferent), the punchy rock-pop of these songs would work in almost any company. The production's a lot glossier but wind the clock back (Beware: Old Fart Reference Point approaches) and a couple ("Slight Is The Hand Of Love", "Party In Hell") would have been candidates for the Bomp label during its late '80s heyday.- The Barman
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