Album Review (EP): Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die
Another little sneaky bonus review for everyone this week, this time another request from the Music Festivals UK Facebook page. Just to reiterate, if anyone wants a review of a specific artist or even themselves/their own band, either find my post to that group or just drop me a message and I’ll try my hardest to get round to you all!
Rockin’ Volts are a relatively new hard rock/sleeze band from Melbourne, Australia. Even stating themselves that they are heavily inspired by AC/DC, I can very much attest to that fact after listening to their debut EP. It’s so nice to hear the New Wave of Classic rock is alive and well not just in Britain, and that newer bands are adapting the older style and keeping it going! Let’s take a listen and see what it’s like, shall we?
The band’s title track, Rockin’ Volts, starts things off hard with huge, fuzzy guitar chords and massive cymbal crashes. It quickly all fades out, though, into a pretty sick classic rock-style guitar riff. Unfortunately it does go just a little bit out of time when it’s on it’s own, speeding up a tad off beat. However, that is the only faint hint of the lower budget nature of the recording I imagine this EP had. Everything else about it, from the mixing to the production, sounds great for a smaller band! The rhythm section kicks in a couple of bars later and gives the whole song a groovy, stomping rhythm, something that I couldn’t help but tap my foot to. Of course, when the vocals come in, they are the typical loud, shouting type heavily inspired by AC/DC, much like most other Aussie hard rock bands. The lyrics, while pretty cheesy, will always fit in well with this type of music, themes of partying, rock’n’roll, gigs and being in a successful rock band. The chorus, with its gang backing vocals, is fun and catchy, something easy to get on board and sing along to live or on track. I do have to admit that the solo coming out of the first chorus really didn’t do anything for me. It just kind of felt there, put in for the sake of breaking up the song a bit, and honestly there were some not nice notes in here. I feel completely the opposite about the second one, though, somehow. It felt a lot more in keeping with the songs energy and felt like it finally found the best scale to play in. I also loved it when it dropped down to just the drums and the driving bass at the end of the solo, building up with the lower vocals and clean guitars before exploding back into the chorus. The final chorus also having the soloing behind it sounded awesome too, really adding a big finale kind of feel to the end of the song. A pretty decent final solo closes it out too, leaving us off to a good start, if there are a couple of minor issues.
Ballbreaker (maybe the most ACDC song name ever) starts off with a huge, fast drum roll, setting the quick pace right off the bat. The riff has more of a punky feel to it this time. Between that and the quick, cymbal heavy drumbeat it doesn’t half give me Motörhead vibes. And yes, I know I mention Motörhead in a lot of my reviews, when they stop inspiring bands I’ll stop writing their name but until then… suck it. The vocals hear (wrong spelling pun intended) are great, higher pitched and following along with the guitar stabs. They remind me more of Blackie Lawless this time than either of the ACDC singers, which is a nice change of pace, at least! There are more old school backing vocals during the chorus, something that is sorely lacking in modern rock music. Another great solo, easily the best I’ve heard from these guys so far, shreds through most of the last minute of the song, serving as a great outro of sorts. A fun, straight to the point rock song with some pretty classic lyrics and stylings at this point. I think I prefer this to the first one!
Ain’t No Woman starts off with a simple bass intro, something that will always be close to my heart. At least these guys definitely aren’t lacking in the variety department, every song has felt different, even if they have all felt like ACDC! The steady cymbals and guitar chords building up over the top sound awesome and right out of the classic/hard rock playlist. However, while I do like the riff, it reminds me ever so slightly too much of Gold on the Ceiling by the Black Keys. The verse riff at least changes it up, a more open, huge sound behind the vocals. More backing vocals aiding the chorus yet again, sounding good but feeling a little formulaic at this point. It’s till catchy as hell, but it does feel slightly too repetitive by the second chorus, especially when everything’s at the same pace throughout. Another great solo here to close out the song, even if it felt a tad sloppy at times. It’s another song that stops after the second chorus and a solo, too. It’s really throwing me off, that they don’t stick to the cut and dry structure, of going back to a chorus at the end. While I did complain slightly about the chorus, I would have still preferred to have heard it again at the end, it made the song feel slightly unfinished without it.
The band close out their EP with a cover of the ACDC classic ‘Let There Be Rock’. Straight away it feels slightly quicker and punkier than the original, something I am all down for as it’s one of my least favourite big songs by the band. The singer is doing a great job channelling his inner Bon Scott here and I imagine he’s a joy to watch if he puts on the whole frontman show when they do it live. Generally there isn’t a great deal I can say about this, everyone who’s reading this review will have heard the song before, no doubt. The band do an amazing job of covering it and, honestly, I’d be down with hearing them cover more stuff in the future, not enough bands cover songs any more, they all take themselves too seriously.
Overall, I enjoyed this. It was a fun, engaging quarter of an hour of old school rock homage done generally very well. If these guys keep up with their high energy, attitude filled songs, they’re going to go pretty damn far in the next few years, especially if they get the funds for slightly better recordings next time. I can’t wait for if they ever come to the UK because I’ll definitely be buying tickets to see them!
Review by musician, blogger & author – Joe Griffiths