Record review: The Datsuns – Death Rattle Boogie (2012, LP)

When The Datsuns first burst out of New Zealand onto a rather tired music scene at the turn of the millennium, they were hailed by all and sundry as saviours of rock ‘n’ roll, and were touted among many – along with The White Stripes and The Strokes – as the undisputed future of guitar music. Why then didn’t they become the all-conquering rock behemoth they were slated to be? The answer isn’t any clearer after listening to fifth album Death Rattle Boogie, as it’s a pretty impressive collection of straight-up classic rock songs that get stuck into the action from the start and leave nothing in the tank; just like the band’s songs have done since day one. Launched exactly ten years to the day of their debut, it is a surprisingly coherent recording considering the four members all now live in different countries, and is filled with a variety of reference points including Queens of the Stone Age (‘Shadow Looms Large’), The Doors (‘Wander The Night’), Motorhead (‘Bullseye’), and I’ll be damned if the riff in ‘Fools Gold’ doesn’t sound like something by early Funkadelic. Opener ‘Gods Are Bored’ is as immediate as they come, and doesn’t pause for breath before the distorted guitars of Gold Halo crank the pace up a notch. Managing to blend elements of hard rock, psychedelia, and blues yet retain their trademark sound is a handy knack to have, and while Death Rattle Boogie is another solid addition to the band’s catalogue, it probably won’t earn them the recognition they deserve.

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