Nasty Kixx - Hometown Blues

Nasty Kixx are very clever boys. There is no doubting their ability as musicians, arrangers and songwriters. This album glides between the seemingly implausible reference points that are 90's bubblegum punk and country rock. Yeah, that is what I just said. When you think about it though, it's not as ludicrous or unique as it first sounds. Think Goo Goo Dolls. Butter popcorn punk rock with home boy sensibilities. Think Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams being covered by Blink 182 or Simple Plan. NK sound very fresh faced and full of the wide eyed naivety that is often the X factor ingredient of bands with more attitude than substance. However the depth of lyric and skill of the arrangements more than hints at a musical maturity that only comes from years on the boards and an apprenticeship swimming in the mire of underachievement. I've just deduced that, despite the French record label, they are Swedish. This would account for it.

Junkyard Scene is a great opener and conjures images of a live band tighter than a clams arse at forty fathoms. Next Girl in Line may as well be called Next Song in Line. Again, maybe a storming live number but far too prone to wearing its' influences on its exceptionally flapping sleeve. The third track is ironically called 'Ain't it a Shame', which is what this album inevitable boils down to. And it is a shame in the most annoying of senses because over all its pretty damn good. The shame is that there are so many bands doing this so much better.

If you had this band as your support act they would make you work for it. No two ways about it. They are ridiculously tight, they have some decent tunes, and someone in there has a deft ability to arrange songs. The cleverness and complexity of the arrangements on this record are its saving grace. They are as complex as they are simple and bring a vibrant new dimension to what is a basically an album full of four chord bashes. It hurtles though another half dozen cuts, none of which really shoot from the hip, it's more a case that they are innocuous enough to get close before taking a swipe at you with a tyre iron wrapped in a towel. Let's face it; you can usually see it coming. The flapping sleeve makes another gargantuan waft on the closing number, a cover of Tragedy by Hanoi Rocks. It's great. It's a bit more punk rock than the original but, once again, you cannot help feeling that it is completely redundant.

Nasty Kixx need to realize one very important thing. You get to Madison Square Gardens by writing good songs and not by sitting on the coat tails of your idols. That said, I'd pay to see them and I would encourage anyone else to do the same. I'm sure they're a good sweaty night out in any 200 capacity venue. The height of the bar is set. There is no opint trying to jump any higher.

by Alex Carling

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