Fuel Injection Records
The Joyrider’s third album is at first blush a continuation of their previous outings: a high octane mix of power punk and dirty blues. With its instant appeal of fat hook and big riffs, it certainly fits the template. But scratch the surface with a grubby fingernail and there’s plenty more going on underneath.
Mainman Gary Lammin is a veteran of sundry punk outfits, not least Joe Strummer protégés Little Roosters. Refreshingly, he’s still got plenty to say. In the vein of the predecessor, ‘Noise and Revolution’, many of the tracks play out themes of working class disenfranchisment, and nine-to-five frustrations.
‘Here Come The People’ is an anthemic call to protest and contains classic nuggets like “Labour did what the Tories do/They cocked a snook at the likes of me and you”. Flashes of humour constantly spill out of the grooves too. The chorus to ‘It’s Nice To Be Important’ gets strung out a little, but there’s no doubting the class of lines like “I want a Swiss bank account that’s full of wonga/Cos it’s all down market living in Ongar”.
Musically, the band are peering round a few unexpected corners and the album has a couple of twists. The muscular opener, ‘Sonic Underground’ owes as much to MC5 in its familiar riff and echo vocals as it does to classic punk.Searing guitar solo too.
Similarly, ‘Roll The Dice and the fabulous title track belt along on a sledgehammer beat only to incite further furious foot stomping with ludicrous hand clapping sections. Thank you Slade. ‘Gentleman Please’ is for all the world a heads down, no nonsense slice of prime Cockney Rejects. Until, that is, the insane honkey-tonk piano break and Faces-esque guitar solo split the track wide open.
Lammin has again hooked up with Martin Stacey who weaves some joyous bass lines through the stomp and Chris Musto thumping the tubs for all he’s worth. Tight and enthusiastic.
The best is saved for last. ‘The Message’, by the standard of the three- and four-minute battering that go before it, assumes almost epic proportions. Lammin wrings the neck off some delicious heavy blues slide guitar over a brooding back beat.
There’s a scorching guitar solo set up in dramatic style by the rhythm boys. And all the while Lammin sustains a withering assault on the vacuous and selfish ‘corporate breed’. Witty and heartfelt invective.
The straightforward approach is not forgotten though. The aforementioned ‘Here Come The People’ alongside ‘Black God Daddy’ and ‘Just Like Me’ testify to the Joyriders’ belief in the power of a simple hook. Sometimes too simple.
The band have undoubtedly stretched the odd catchy chorus a little too far on occasion. But the odd cheery filler isn’t a massive crime. Neither are the spoken intros and outros by John Sinclair that bookend the title track. But neither do they add a whole lot, to be fair.
Ah, mere tiny quibbles. This is a riotous album from a band in full flow. Loud, brassy, cheeky, surprising and damn fine entertainment. Catch ‘em live if you can too. A treat. *****
Review by Dave Atkinson
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