Four decades since their onset, Mancunians’ onslaught comes full, vicious circle to shake, rattle and roll.
You don’t need to be a shrink to feel the bite in a Rorschach inkblot on the cover of this record, the Manchester band’s first in 15 years; what’s unexpected about it is their erstwhile grit turning into glitter on most of the new tracks. Beyond the zing of the veterans’ metal-jacketed cover of “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” that replaces the original colors with chrome finish, there’s a collection of zippy riffs and grooves which get under your skin with”Trust (All I Want From You)” and don’t let go until “Situations” is linked back to the “Boot Boys” exuberance: it’s got the same infectious stomp as the quartet’s classic cuts.
It’s impossible to resist and not relate to the Tinseltown demolition in “Hollywood Whores” where Wayne Barrett’s voice and Mick Rossi’s guitar are at their most cutting, while “Someday” – full of hope and fuzzy glory – may become the ultimate drinking song, but it’s not this cut that packs the punchiest emotion. It’s “Maybe If We Followed The Devil” that’s a perfect marriage of regret and tragedy, although remorse doesn’t belong here, and the acoustically driven piece – one hitting harder than the unhurriedly riotous, and righteous, “Rise & Fall Of Babylon” – is arguably the most uncompromising statement on display. Rock ‘n’ rolling “Trash Talking Queen” may be the punk pinnacle of the record, in aesthetic terms at least, while the depth of it all should be measured by philosophy of less frantic tracks.
Vicious? It is. Yet it’s also a gracious album in terms of sharpness which enhances focus with age. In the band’s own words, they got class.