Melbourne rockers Dangerous Curves have come on leaps and bounds since the last time they got involved in this recording caper; Their last effort, So Dirty Right, had it’s moments, notably the excellent Art of the Heart, but even that track – still a cornerstone of Sentinel Daily Radio‘s party metal programming-  wouldn’t have given you an inkling that the band were capable of putting together a record so spine tingling and, well, just straight up enjoyable as latest effort Summertime Highs.

Indeed, if you let the title track slip through to the keeper as a thoroughly understandable little piece of self indulgence, the rest of the album stands tall as perhaps the finest of it’s kind to come from Australia since Canberran hard rock kings Tonk last put out an album. This is seriously good stuff, for the most part – and certainly stuff that needs to be heard on the widest stages it’s possible to set foot on in these times of lowered expectation.

Tracks like Nightmare Games are, in simple terms, right up there with anything that established hair metal retroactivists like Crazy Lixx are committing to wax right now. Built around a Cam Shoobert riff that eighties Gods Leatherwolf  or Icon would have killed for ‘back in the day’, and buoyed by a quite superb vocal delivery from Kym Britten that really does send an unfeasible amount of voltage through the hairs on the back of the neck, this is astounding hair metal of world class ambition and execution. Elsewhere Good and the Bad is pure feelgood escapism, a perfect antidote to what’s going on in the real world; if a smile doesn’t erupt from your fizzog as soon as Shoobert’s opening riff crackles out of the speakers there’s a fair chance you’re reading the wrong web-based hair metal loving website; this is Poison, repurposed and spruced up for the modern age, and it’s bloody brilliant.

Talking of Poison, the semi-balladic Falling Off also tips it’s hat to Brett Michaels and company, but that’s about as far as it goes as far as ‘spot the influence’ is concerned; Dangerous Curves may be the sum of those influences, but they’ve also transcended them, in the process developing a sound that manages to respect the old whilst forging ahead with a spring in the step, alive to the promise of what lays ahead. And that’s a pretty good position to be in.

Summertime Highs releases on July 16th.