Eschews Scouse clichés for stateside rock influences.
Lou Thomas 2009-09-11
Will Bayliss may have formed this band with acquaintances plucked from his home town of Liverpool, but there are few Scouse musical clichés on this eponymous debut album.
The Hot Melts eschew both classic Beatles songwriting and the edgier psychedelic fare produced by the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, The Coral and The Teardrop Explodes. Instead, the young four-piece make unreconstructed pop-rock which recalls big, fun US bands like Weezer and Green Day. Their formula is straightforward: simple melodies and song structures seemingly borrowed from 50s rock‘n’roll acts like Chuck Berry given a grungey guitar overhaul.
Single Red Lips, the excellent opener of this LP, is a great example of this era-straddling approach. “Red Lips take you back to my hotel, red blood pouring out of my nose,” sings Bayliss, like a trainee Axl Rose, while the unfussy guitars are as gloriously bombastic as those on Rocket from the Crypt’s On a Rope.
Immediately after this, Terrorvision are unexpectedly channelled during Edith. It’s unfashionable and cheesy, but certainly an effective chunk of pub-rock. It’s also better than Big Baby, which is the aural equivalent of Sunny Delight – initially delicious but soon both syrupy and forgettable.
Sweet xylophone melodies and Bayliss’s impersonation of My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way adorn 24: a naïve, yet touching song about a man who dearly wants to be the last of a woman’s lovers. It’s epitomised by a particularly blunt line: “This little lady showed me her diary and the list of the people she has been with over the years.”
Shrink is spoiled by some uncalled-for operatic vocal tics and Archie would have been best left in the studio, but the swift 36-minute record ends with God Will Drive My Hearse, a minimal but powerful chugathon. Incongruous here, it may suggest a less poppy and tougher future for The Hot Melts, if that’s a road this promising band want to follow.