Let me make you a rhetorical wager. I bet you as much tea in China as I could ever hope to beg, steal, or borrow that at least once in your life you’ve been so underwhelmed by a newly purchased album that the very fact of its existence starts to grate. You know, something along these lines:
This band/singer/person off the tele has gone to the time, effort, and trouble of recording songs seemingly fit for expensively producing, mixing, packaging, marketing, distributing, and selling… and all that came out the other end is THIS shower of shit?! A dreary rehash of better records we already have – tuneless, turgid, and about as much fun as the proverbial wet weekend in Bognor.
(For me this happens more often with films at the cinema… but I still have more than my fair share of boring indie records, and, for reasons that always escape me, roughly four U2 albums not named The Joshua Tree.)
Well. Happily enough, today I’m here to write about the opposite of this. Namely: a new album I picked up recently that is not over-hyped, bloated, and dull, but which is, instead, a barnstorming, rabble-rousing belter! (It’s even got “rabble” in its name, as if to prove the point.)
Rabble Rock Radio by Stone Pony: (try this out for size) the product not of bullshit nor bluster, but good old-fashioned talent. Songwriting talent. Music-making talent. And, in 2012, that most underrated talent of them all – the one for delivering the goods, while most other folk are too busy looking in the mirror or else polishing a turd.
Oh, and I didn’t quite manage to mention yet that Rabble Rock Radio is also a whole heaping lot of fun. It’s the sound of really good musicians having a great time, thrilled, no doubt, that copious hours running fingers up and down a fret-board or keyboard (probably not what they really wanted to be doing, let’s be fair), can start to reap jubilant rewards. Start to make a thrilling, righteous racket. Start to compel the limbs of lucky listeners to first twitch, then tap out a rhythm, then (fuck it – why ever not!) dance.
Dance for the rockers, at least, in between this album’s few ‘slower’ songs that take a breath and gaze out the window some: for a little day-dreaming ’bout its South London lovers… before up again they’re swept, like so many girls when sweetheart sailors drift back to port. (Here’s an album, after all, forever making room for a lovely bit of sax.)
(…And finding it, too, for the sorts of things that only saps and bores could ever miss the charm of: a bar or three of ‘Be My Baby’ drumming, vertiginous shifts in tempo, and virtuoso singing that runs a merry gamut from Tom Jones-style grunts to the stage-whisper of a young Springsteen, back in the day of The Wild, The Innocent, and The E-Street Shuffle. And how do you like an album that variously offers pretty vocal harmonies to gladden your grandma to the marrow, and plenty muscular riffage to rouse your grandpa from his slumbers, gin-soaked or otherwise? Something for everyone, indeed.)
But, hey, enough of me waxing on. Just go seek this record out, that’s all… It was made by a group of people who all have regular jobs, and in their spare time. Maybe because it was a labour of love, or maybe because they’ve nothing whatsoever to prove, here’s a band that cuts out all the bullshit, and straight to the joyous chase.
(Turns out, I found them on Facebook…)