LOOSE BULLETS - The M-16's (Reverberation)
Forgive the over-familiarity but I've been living with an unmastered version of this mini-album from Perth's M-16's for six months so me and "Loose Bullets" are on close terms. How you'll perceive it comes down to your own personal musical poison. Some will cite contemporary touchstones, like the Hellacopters or the closer-to-home Monarchs (R.I.P.). Me, I'm coming from the direction of Sonic's Rendezvous Band (although, along with. everyone else, The M-16's lack their range of songs or Morgan soulfulness). Bottom line is, kids , it's all great and long overdue grist for the rock and roll mill.

It's overdue, because this mini-album has been four years in the making. And because guitar bands with this sort of Rock Action ethos are thin on the ground in Australia. There are lots of fuzztone afficianadoes, '70s pub rock is amply covered, as is two-chord thrash. No problem with all that, but this is something different (more on that soon).

The CD's called "Loose Bullets" because, in a sense, that's what the songs are - a clip of heavy cased, hollow-points that were left lying around the armoury. This is a band that was troubled by false starts but is now settled into a solid three-piece line-up (supplemented by second guitarist David Hopkins in the live setting). It's also one that's obviously itching to be known outside its native Perth.

So how's it sound? Mix some guitar-lathered rock songs, a dynamite engine room, lots of clean but scorching solos and a singer with a guitar player's voice - no offence intended whatsoever; they're the sort of vocalists we seem to get into most of the time around here - and you're close. Minimum distortion, maximum energy.
"Killer" Ken Watt is at the epicentre, writing all the tunes, playing guitar spectacularly well and singing everything. That's not to underplay Brad Miller's importance on bass. His fluid, emphatic lines play most of the competition under the table. Current (and permanent) drummer Adam Sciullo plays on the lion's share of the eight songs and doesn't put a stick wrong.

The tunes are more than respectable without being unforgettable. "Losin' Time" b/w "Sweet Luck" was the debut single; it's here and still sticks best, despite it being a hasty studio-written job. The occasional hand claps and "ooo-oooh" choruses struggle to cut throiugh. Given time to write and a budget to spend, the album will build on this. Most bands would kill to have this sort of foundation.

Considering the off-and-on nature of the recording sessions, "Loose Bullets" sounds remarkably coherent. It's also essential for your collection. This is a band poised to pursue greatness (as the recent East Coast Australian shows demonstrated). - The Barman



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