Jettison your ailing nerves and toot your horn loudly for Birmingham (Alabama) based rock n’ roller Dan Sartain – who creates eagerly intense and brusquely bruising treasures of what we like to call punk n roll.
Imagine if you took Buddy Holly in 1959 and held him in a chamber until now, this is the kind of music that he would record. Short, sublime, intense. Dedicated. And seriously bloody annoyed.
‘Nam Vet’ lurches full pelter into that rock n roll world with an insistent guitar hook – and a melody and drums that urgently chat together. And when the lead guitar breaks through it is a blessed relief. The wait is over. But bring on more.
‘Now Now Now’ (feat. Jane Wiedlin of ‘The Go-Gos’ ) although having a title that sounds like Jimmy Savile should be cueing in a record, is actually the best bubble-gum rock n roll we have heard this side of Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’. Evoking memories of summery evenings spent bopping at the diner, clean pink Cadillacs lined up outside, and plenty of lively amply bosomed bubble-gummers in tight baseball sweaters. Oh yes.
‘I Wanna Join the Army’ is far more punky than the earlier tracks- brining to mind ‘The Undertones’ – And if joining the Army was akin to joining the Party – then this is what the grim ole’ world would sound like. Spooky guitars fill this cup of holy cow goodness.
‘Rona’ is another punk sounding piece. Not unlike an offering from the early ‘Jam’ this ardent piece rushes towards an abrupt end, perhaps like the love that the songwriter is so painfully enduring. ‘Swap Meet’ is like being roughly brushed and dressed up by your gruff grandma, then placed into your Sunday best and told not to ‘play up’ – you really feel starched and unable to breathe through this one.
‘Boo Hoo Hoo’ has some neat close-harmony tricks up its sleeve. ‘Indian Massacre’ zips along with some abrupt chops of sound and hinges neatly on the cute ‘Everly Brothers’ sounding vocals. And this is as wafer thin and as surprisingly alluring as those sherbet filled flying saucer sweets.
Some of Dan’s songs are intensely acrimonious – like ‘F*ck Friday’ with its talons of piercing guitar that cause welters of pain in your softer regions. Or ‘I Got Insurance’ that has a hoarse voice and those pounding chords. But ‘I can’t Go Home Now’ is neatly textured and has clap-clap percussion and even possesses a lively and expressive style – dammit this is actually worthy of dance-hall domination. Put another dime in the box for this one!
‘Even at My Worst I’m Better Than You’ – have not we all thought that? ‘In Death ’is as apologetic in extremis as you ever could get- this sorry story is suicidal.
‘Too Tough To Live’ is certainly not Too Tough To Love …
New Album ‘Too Tough To Live’ is by Dan Sartain and is out next year on One Little Indian records
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