NO DIRECTION - No Direction (Nicotine Records)
It's probably a personal take but these Finns occasionally recall a more metallic Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, the Dictators offshoot that kicked around on the MCA label in the early '90s. It's more in the songs than their actual sound, and primarily because the guitarists sound like they've copped that chunky chordage from Ross the Boss. You could learn from worse.

Part of the so-called Nu Rock wave that briefly swept over the Western World and especially the UK (where they moved in 1999 ), No Direction apparently broke up as they seemed to be making real progress (as opposed to artificial progress). Familiar refrain I know but they go and choose chose a fickle market.

Their singer-bassist went on to employment with the Vibrators (haven't they hired a few hands down the years?) and the guitar player was recruited to The Datsuns. Fast forward to now and a reformed line-up includes both of those members, an ex-Wildhearts drummer and a guitarist from Tokyo Dragons.

This is a fine debut album. Well produced, you can hear everything but the whirr of the tattooist's gun. There's a pop streak in songs like "My Girl" and "Dead End Generation" but it's never straying far from the gutter.

"No Direction" straddles that crowded street corner where metal meets punk-thrash, the best example of which is "World Gone Mad" which stutters, threatens to morph into "The Passenger" and then bursts into a singalong refrain.

Most music of this ilk sits in a grey zone where it's too metal-cliched to come up with a new take on old territory and limited by two-chord thrash. No Direction have good enough songs to get clear of the logjam and stand clear of the pack. I'm not entirely sure their boat didn't leave port a few years ago but what goes around comes around in rock and roll, again and again. Their ship could still come in. - The Barman


1/2

 

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