Shake, rattle and roll with the punches: heavyweight veterans tune into their roots and sprout new shoots.
Primeval and feral: that’s the common denominator for rockabilly, punk and hard rock, and there’s an ensemble to provide a fine example of this formula’s implementation. HEADCAT 13 is actually the third advent of a group whose very name suggests its origins, because THE HEAD CAT were a joint project of MOTÖRHEAD lynchpin Lemmy Kilmister, Slim Jim Phantom from THE STRAY CATS and ex-13 CATS Danny B. Harvey. Guitarist Harvey carried on carrying the flag after his compadres dropped off and, having gone through THE 69 CATS, returned with a new line-up – with Alan Davey, another former HAWKWIND member, playing bass and sharing vocal duties, and Paul Vezelis hitting the skins.
Their first effort is a heady mixture of originals and covers – done fiercely yet given a lot of grace, as befits a feline-fixated trio, so “Susie Q” and “Route 66” acquire a deliciously sharp edge now, but Alan-penned “Don’t Look Back” and “Let’s Go Crazy” by Danny don’t cede ground to the classics when it comes to raucousness. Rumble, squeal and wallop rarely sound as sweet and raw in equal measure as they do here to a highly infectious effect which sometimes can feel threatening – and funny, too, with a FLEETWOOD MAC rarity “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite” inciting the crowd to join in and have a ball and making the piece’s writer Jeremy Spencer smile approvingly.
While “That’s It That’s All” places metal on the pedal, and the cover of THE YARDBIRDS’ “Psycho Daisies” accelerates the collective’s bluesy lunacy, there’s a flawed elegance to “Come Out And Play” and “Wigglin’ And A Jigglin'” – the former gets off on the Diddley beat and slider whereas the latter features Annie Marie Lewis whose voice is also prominent on a fresh cut of her uncle’s piano-led perennial “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” – that highlight Harvey’s holler and Davey’s roar. Youth oozing out of a sarcastic take on “Have Love Will Travel” and “Reckless, Wild And Crazy” that must serve as the trio’s anthem, sheer joy should engulf the listener with every spin of this record: шежы a riot of an album.