Brit rockers Stevie R. Pearce and the Hooligans have returned in 2021 with a second instalment of their rare brand of big-bollocked, rollicking rock n’roll – and we we should all be thanking the maker for this state of affairs…

COVID has failed to stop these leatherclad warriors of the big beat, and there are no signs of the pandemic weakening our titular hero and his gang of low-slung sidekicks. Praise be. Instead, circumstances have driven SRPatH to create a hard driving collection of anthems, each as infectious as the ‘rona but twice as deadly – with the added bonus that you don’t need a swab shoved up your nose to test positive for this particular rock n’roll disease. Stevie, as the more enlightened of you will be aware, is also a member of American rockers Love/Hate and Warrior Soul, and it’s his ability to take from that experience and add it to his home grown influences that gives Major League Son of a Bitch it’s major point of difference. ‘Transatlantic’ is often a word used pejoratively, but here the mix of no-holds barred Brit rocking and flashy, joi de vivre-laden Yankee exhibitionism is a heady, not to mention winning, combination.

The band’s self-titled debut album, released in 2018, was described in these pages at it’s time of release as ‘solid’. In 2021, Pearce builds on that solidity but really lets his imagination take to the wing, resulting in a varied mix of styles that takes in The Ruts (the excellent Fleshwound) through The Ramones (Lunatic By The Pool is a pogofest that Joey and company would have been pleased to call their own) to the Sunset Strip circa ’85 (How High), stopping at all points in between and indeed beyond.

The balladry of If I Were Blind and especially Just A State of Mind, with it’s otherworldly mix of Canadian pomp titans Triumph and, um, Oasis, breaks up the sturm und drang nicely, but as a whole this album works best if you approach it with a ‘ready to rock’ attitude; closing track – and probably the best of the bunch – Hammered, adds a bit of power pop sophistication to proceedings, in the proceedings acting as a signpost perhaps to where this band will be most effective moving forward, as well as showing just how far they’ve come since that first record.

Major League Son of a Bitch releases on August 28th.