bloodlightsComing almost ten years after Gluecifer’s swansong ‘Automatic Thrill’, this third album from guitarist Captain Poon’s Bloodlights is a record which could match his previous outfit’s claim to be the kings of rock.  Not in a stadium filling, household name way, you understand; more in a bringing it back to the sweaty clubs sense.  Far rougher around the edges than Gluecifer in their later days, Bloodlights are ugly, mean and fully charged.

Following a full-on drum roll intro, Bloodlights’ arrival this time out is announced rather unsubtly via a raucous scream which goes on for a couple more bars than you’re likely expecting…and perhaps a couple more than it should.  As the number kicks into high gear, the pace and attitude has a hint of early Motörhead in its attack – albeit without Lemmy’s disctinctive Rickenbastard rattling – coupled with a dose of garage rock.  Captain’s lead vocals may not be for everyone, there’s no denying that his rough and slightly limited range is perfect for Bloodlights.  A simple shouty backing vocal on the chorus provides most of the hook, but given the energy on show, little more is required to make an initial impression. Upping the ante, the second track crashes in with a pulsing bass and ringing guitar in a style that’s instantly familiar.  Yet, just as it appears the band are about to bless us with a revved up cover of The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’, it proves not to be the case.  Over a tune that features some distinctly borrowed elements from the Fabs’ 1968 classic, ‘Arms Around It’ cranks out garage punk goodness which ultimately sounds like a souped-up version of The Hives.  With absolute abandon, the song’s construction takes the basis of the opener and throws in a really catchy chorus for good measure.  …And with that, Bloodlights truly hit their stride, churning out a string of winning tunes for the rest of the LP.

‘Shit For Gold’ is a brilliant rock ‘n’ roll thrasher which sounds like Rocket From The Crypt pumped out at 45rpm, highlighting lightning fast staccato riffing against a dumb refrain of “Here comes boredom”, while the title cut recycles an ‘Overkill’ styled drum riff and tops it with jagged riffing and sharp lead breaks.   Although only intermittent, the lead guitar work here ranks among the album’s strongest, while each number taps into Bloodlights’ sense of tuneful aggression with maximum effect.

Those looking for a bit more melody will find thrills scattered throughout this record too. Tapping into sounds more akin to Gluecifer,  ‘Time To Kill’ combines a quasi-melodic tune with some killer twin leads with top notch gang vocals and a shameless “fuck you” payoff line, each coming together to make this an obvious standout.  Elsewhere, ‘Blackouts & Landmines’ churns out slow hard rock riffs with a trashy abandon, but topping them all, ‘Dive Into The Void’ offers classic 80s rock via the most radio-friendly cut.  Here, rough and ready harmony vocals add an extra sense of joyousness to an already bouncy number, while Howie B throws in some well-executed lead breaks, on what sounds a little like a tune by any number of cult glam rock acts from the 80s, albeit redressed by The Wildhearts.  If ‘Stand Or Die’ has failed to grab you thus far, Bloodlights exploit the album’s sequencing, ensuring their most infectious tune is the last thing you hear before the disc stops spinning…

Bloodlights’ raucous punk attitude colliding with trashy hard rock makes a superb antidote to the dozens of tired leather-trousered rock bands that appear to be borne out of Scandinavia on a weekly basis.  If a collision of garage-esque hard rock and punk edge sounds like your bag and you’ve not yet heard these guys, you could have a new favourite band waiting…

April 2013