12 October 2015

Biters - Electric Blood

Welcome to cover roulette (sort of)! As regular readers of the blog will know, I sometimes pick an album based on the cover of the album alone.  The album we are going to be looking into is the debut release on Earache Records by hard rock act Biters, who hail from Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  Formed in 2009, they has slowly been making a name for themselves with four EP's and one compilation to their name before this release; they have claimed that their influences are Cheap Trick, Slade, David Bowie, Alice Copper amongst others, they have also recently been on a UK tour which has been going down a storm (the local show to me in Newcastle was allegedly a great gig at the Think Tank).  Now I did say that this was a sort of cover roulette, the reason for that is that I had original picked it a few months ago when I saw it in August in a magazine and then I promptly forgot about it - my bad.  But after my friends were raving about the band, I remembered I was going to review this; so with no further delay, let us see how the album has turned out....

“Restless Heart” is so retro it hurts, I had to check that it was not made in late 70’s/early 80’s but it was released on 7 August 2015 and it is all about the good times that can be had when your life is lived carefree and everything revolves around being out and social.  It is really hard not to start smiling at this simple and idyllic life of going out and partying, it is something that all of us wish we were doing at one time or another and this song has a swagger and attitude that makes it so easy to fall in love with that illusion.  As simple as AC/DC and Motörhead, it’s an honest rock tune that will make no apologies for existing and just goes out to party.  “1975” is another party song and this time the band want to go back to 1975 when rock ruled the airwaves and everything was better in their eyes.  It is more pop on this number, with a large dash of rock as well in the mix to make to tune bounce along with all the joy of summer/Christmas and Halloween all rolled into one.  It is once again very hard not to smile when this song is played, it is just a simple tune that is not there for a lecture or to be a serious piece a-la Swans; it is there for fun and it is also 1,000% better than other acts such as Steel Panther at making an impression on the listener.  The third track is called "Heart Fulla Rock 'n' Roll" which comes out of the trap with a glam rock tune that sounds retro and modern in equal measure.  I can see the Slade influence on this track and it also has a bit of Kiss to the song as well.  Whilst it is not reinventing the wheel, I cannot help but like this song as it is just an out and out rock number to make you smile like a Cheshire cat.

"Dreams Don't Die" sees the band take their foot off the floor very slightly and ease up a little as they ponder if love will be waiting for them once they have stopped chasing their dreams. Whilst the lyrics might not be to my taste if I am honest, I am once again loving the music itself; good, honest rock 'n' roll that makes the world a fun place for the few moments that it is in the world.  The fifth song is the title track "Electric Blood" and the fun times are back for the band at this point (not as if they were really that far away to begin with).  It does not move too fast, but it does rock as hard as any classic rock outfit from the past and present.  It keeps the quality of the album at the high mark and show that rock 'n' roll is not dead.  Next the mood turns serious (for a few moments) with "The Kids Ain't Alright" which starts off with a dramatic opening about the plight of the youth and goes into a glam-tastic song further explaining how it has all gone to shit - it is rare that you hear a band with a serious message being delivered with a glam rock veneer to make the message bearable.  It does have a sound which is directly taken from Bowie & Mott the Hopple in equal measure, it is also one of the best songs off the album and shows that it is not just all about partying on this record.  

Normal service musically is resumed with "Low Lives in Hi-Definition" which sounds as if it is another song that sounds as if it is all about partying, but when you dig a little deeper it is a ball of frustration with the modern age and how lives are being distorted by all the HD lifestyle and social media.  These guys really do wish it was the 1970's all over again and have that rock 'n' roll life style flowing.  "Time To Bleed" keeps up that simple rock vibe going and whilst it has a sad vibe to the lyrics, it is still once cracking tune that is so full of energy that it is sometimes distracting to focus on the words.  It is a song that I go backwards and forwards on quite a lot to be honest on whether I like it or if I really like it lots and lots and lots.  It is almost the song of the album, but there is something that I am missing which makes it a pulse - either way, it still rocks!  The penultimate song "Loose from the Noose" is a great song about wanted to cheat death, it is a great number that takes that classic fight between death and rock 'n' roll and gives it a new dimension - even one that sounds as if it could have been around since the dawn of time.  Again, it is another class track that keeps the smile firmly plastered on the listener’s face - just fun from beginning to end.  But it is not the ending of the album dear reader, as there is still the final song which is called "Space Age Wasteland" and Thin Lizzy are wanting their riff back here!  Joking aside, it is something that sounds so familiar (and it does sound like a tribute to Phil Lynott and co) and completely new as well.  For a few moments you are taken somewhere else and rock is still in charge of the world.  It is perfectly placed at the end of the album, I mean it completes the record with a precision that is not seen outside of Tool and how they complete an album (never thought I would mention them in a rock 'n' roll album) - it just fits like a glove and end the album on the best song of the record.

Bon Scott of AC/DC once said the following - All the songs we do are basically about one of three things: booze, sex or rock n roll.  I think that there is something similar to be said about Biters.  It seems to be wishing it was the 70's/80's, trying to escape the inevitable and living the dream (with a bit of sex and rock 'n' roll in the mix as well).  It is just a fun album that is simple in its mission and brilliant in its delivery.  I am very impressed with the record and that silly cover as well, they are one of the best rock 'n' roll bands I have heard for years and I hope that there is a follow up to this album.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top track - Space Age Wasteland

You can purchase Electric Blood from Amazon here

You can visit the Biters website here

You can follow the activities of Biters on Facebook here

You can stream Electric Blood on Spotify here

You can stream Electric Blood on Deezer here

You can stream Electric Blood on Tidal here

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