I have this lasting image from my childhood. An image that is indelibly etched in my psyche. It is of a psycho skinhead with blood streaming from his forehead, from a self-inflicted open wound, mouth wide-open with a silent scream of rage.
Now this may not exactly be the most endearing of images, I'm sure you will agree with that. But when we are talking "Rose Tattoo" and in particular "Angry Anderson" we are not talking the most endearing band in the world. These guys have always done the business of Rock N Roll on their terms and if you don't like that you can basically fuck off. So now some twenty-six years on from that image, (which was incidentally "Angry Anderson's" way of responding to being bottled at "Reading Rock"), "Rose Tattoo" releases the rather aptly named "Blood Brothers" album ensuring once again that "Nice Boys" indeed DO NOT play Rock N Roll.
This is the second studio album from the reformed "Tatts". The first being 2002's "Pain", which while I'm at it was also the last album to feature their legendary slide guitarist "Pete Wells" before he sadly recently succumbed to cancer. Ex "Billy Thorpe" member "Dai Pritchard", who was personally picked by Pete when he knew he was ill, succeeds him on "Blood Brothers". "Blood Brothers" also sees the return of one of my boyhood heroes in the shape of "Mick Cocks" who is back on cool hair (albeit no longer a feather cut) and rhythm guitar, having recently replaced the outgoing "Rob Riley" who had originally replaced "Mick Cocks".
One thing is for sure, looking at the turmoil and background to this album I never expected this to be quite such a return to form, especially given that "Pain" for me was well OK-ish.
"Black Eyed Bruiser" kicks off the album in fine style. A real kick in the bollocks kind of tune that the band used to do so well in their heyday, and written by a certain "Vanda/Young", need I say more? From there on in it's "Anderson/Cocks" who write the majority of the material, and in that you get the most consistent set of barroom boogie rock since "Assault And Battery" way back in 1981.
"Slipping Away" is a full on prison riot of a tune as is the "Guns N Roses (Appetite era)" sounding "Lubricated". During "1854" Angry sounds amazingly like "Fin Moore" from "Waysted" and delivers a chorus so huge it could go the distance with Mothra and still have time to knee cap Godzilla on the way home. "Once In A Lifetime" brings back visions of "Bad Boy For Love" whilst "Creeper" sees Angry sounding not unlike prime time "Rob Halford" retelling the story of a man addicted to sex, booze and gambling (Sound familiar?).
One small gripe for me however is the track "City Blues" that sits mid album, is mid paced, and frankly goes nowhere as a song. Within the context of an album of fist punching anthems running for just over 40 minutes, it is simply not a strong enough song. "Butcher and Fast Eddie" it most definitely is not.
With the exception of this relatively small blip, what you do get for your money is a riotous return to form in the shape of 10 full on blasts of rock n roll from a band that has left their mark not only on my childhood memory but on the music scene of today.
4 out of 5
by Johnny H.