Brit hair metal pretenders Midnite City have created a lot of good will since exploding onto the scene in 2017; melodic rock fans all over the UK have been patiently waiting for a band from their homeland to rival the modern Gods of the hair metal scene like Crazy Lixx, and now at last, it looks like we might have one.

To do this, they’ve wisely spread their wings beyond the usual watered-down conflations of G N’R and Skid Row that have been foisted on us for too long, being prepared instead to mine classier, more restrained seams of hard rock to build a bigger, more convincing picture. And by George they’ve pulled it off with Itch You Can’t Scratch

Fire Inside, for instance – and I don’t feel I’m going out on a limb by saying this in Mid-May – is the best slice of Brit-generated AOR you’ll hear all year. Built on a titanic vocal from Rob Wylde, who is a true star if ever I heard one, the band weave streams of long forgotten names like Outside Edge into their shiny, flashy metal with devastating results. I say Outside Edge as that band’s Heartbeat Away seems to form the melodic base for Fire Inside, right down to the tear-jerking whoah-oh-ohs at songs end, underpinned by some gargantuan parping from keyboardist Shawn Charvette. It’s spine-tingling stuff.

Darkest Before The Dawn throws a bit of Nelson and New Jersey pomp Gods Prophet into the mix, and you’ll understand that by now, a mere four songs in, I’m having trouble keeping a hold on my critical faculties as the urge to slip into the nearest pair of cowboy boots and a satin dustcoat becomes almost irresistible. If you loved this sort of music when it ruled the airwaves thirty years ago, you’re gonna have a whale of a time with this record.

Mix in the glorious radio rock of  I Don’t Need Another Heartache (which features an air guitar-inducing solo from Miles Meakin and yet more glittering parpage from Charvette) and a bit of Lost Boys-styled gothery in the shape of They Only Come Out At Night and you would appear to have the basis of the perfect eighties-themed night in. JUST ADD BOURBON!

Itch You Can’t Scratch releases on May 28th.