WOW! Just, wow… that’s what I was thinking after being battered black n’blue by the first couple of tracks on Dead Man’s Voice. You see, The New Roses vocalist Timmy Rough, far from having a moribund noise coming out of his word hole like the title of this record suggests, comes across very much as a real live one…
Heads or Tails and Thirsty are, frankly, thunderous. Rip roaring blues rock of the sort I thought had been last seen thriving in the early nineties heydays of bands like Thunder and The Quireboys with head screaming himself hoarse, this is real get up and go music played with spirit, guts and a lot of fire in the belly. Two songs in and I’m lovin’ it, and third song Partner in Crime ain’t no slouch either, barrelling along on the back of a pummelling performance from drummer Urban Berz and delivering more of a metallic punch than the first two tracks.
Dead Man’s Voice mixes latter day Lynyrd Skynyrd to a more modern radio rock groove, that ain’t as much to my taste but gets the job done. Whilst the rocking I Believe has an almost power pop feel to it that’s pretty irresistible if I’m honest, infectious gang vocals supporting Head and really making the listener want to get up and dance. How have I not heard of these guys before? Oh that’s right they’re German and I don’t get out of Wales much… thank god for the internet!
Ride With Me is a bit of a disappointment after what’s gone before; again it has a more ‘modern’ feel to it, kinda like the modern Mike Tramp material, and it just doesn’t gel as well with that real gritty Faces-rocked-up feel that this band does so well. It’s not a bad track, probably, it just doesn’t seem to fit so well on this record. The same can’t be said for the ridiculously brilliant Hurt Me Once (Love Me Twice) a song so good you’ll just want to play it over and over again after just one play. Like a devilish mess of Rod Stewart at his rockingest, Spike from the Quireboys and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, Head’s performance on this track alone is worth shelling out for the album for. My oh my, I need some water and hot towels!
Next track Not From this World isn’t quite up to that standard, settling for some standard issue pub rock when a little more was required (although it features a blistering solo from guitarist Norman Bites), but big ballad What If It Was You – written in response to the Bataclan atrocity of late last year– is a spine tingling piece of songwriting and performing that’ll once again have you singing along at the top of your voice.
Try (And You Know Why) is a bruising piece of loose limbed hard rock a la Guns n’Roses with those big backing vocals coming to the fore again, and belting closer From Guns & Shovels closes the album in the same style as Heads or Tails opened it – in hard rockin’ style. I can’t tell you what a very pleasant surprise this album has been to listen to, and I certainly think every one of you out there reading this will find a lot to take away from Dead Man’s Voice. Pretty much essential if you love gritty hard rock!