Monday 25 March 2019

Los Bastardos Finlandeses - Rock 'n' Roll (2019)

Country: Finland
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 13 Mar 2019
Sites: Facebook | Official Website | Wikipedia | YouTube

Let's make today a Finland double bill! After all, it's difficult to resist a band called Los Bastardos Finlandeses, especially when there's a song by the name of Rockabilly Nurse here. A little research finds six prior albums and a track as memorable as Bad Mother Fucker which is apparently about me. Or someone with the same name. Maybe. You never know. It's possible.

Anyway, the immediate influence to note is Motörhead, because of the voice of Bryn Jones, who, as you might imagine, is no native Finn. He hails from Essex, I believe, but the Welsh heritage obvious in his name is reflected in his band moniker of El Taff Bastardo.

These guys do seem to have fun. The band's drummer, who went by Twist Twist Erkniharju during his long run in the Leningrad Cowboys, one of Finland's most recognisable musical exports, is El Bastardo Grande here. The new guy, Ailu Immonen, is called Young Gun. He's the replacement for Ben Granfelt, formerly of Wishbone Ash, who was also no Finn and went by El Gringo. That leaves the other guitarist, Olli Kykkänen, or Don Osmo as he is here.

Jones is certainly influenced by Lemmy, as the band are by Motörhead, but they're no clone and, in fact, repeat listens lessen it because the tone is consistently different. While Jones certainly has a rasp to his voice and a very recognisable one at points, it's a smoother, softer voice that would serve him well in any rockin' blues band. On the softer songs like Someone Like You or Moonstruck, I heard some Phil Lynott in there too. On the harder ones, I heard Algy Ward from Tank, of course another Lemmy disciple.

The band mix it up quite a lot too, though they never leave that kick ass in a small bar vibe. They rock hard on The King is Dead and soften up when it's needed for ballads, or what are close to ballads. They bounce on Give It Up, like a biker band wanting the audience to pogo. They sway on Wheelers and Dealers, which is remiscent of Dumpy's Rusty Nuts. They get imaginative on Art of War which evolves a lot. One More Time starts out like Green Day but ends like Tank. Rockabilly Nurse begins like a Van Halen song but it really doesn't stay there.

In short, there's far more variety here than you'll find on an Asomvel album or The Hong Kong Sleepover record I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. However, there's a lot of consistency too, which I noticed all the more after leaving this on repeat for a few hours. Sure, there are songs that are heavier than others, songs that lean more to pop or more to blues, but they're all pretty consistent in tone once they're inside our head.

They're pretty consistent in quality too. While there's nothing here to set the airwaves alight, there isn't a bad song either and I'd happily listen to the whole thing from the bar of a small club with a beer in my hand, played in whatever order they want.

It's hard to pick a favourite song, though I might have to plump for Riot Act, a straight forward rocker with a rumbling bass and twangy guitars, as if the faux-Mexican personae they've conjured up ought to mean something in their music too. I could see Los Bastardos Finlandeses playing this from a rest stop as the heroes pass in a rock 'n' roll western update to the film Six String Samurai.

There's nothing groundbreaking here at all, but it's tight, consistent and very entertaining. Now, if you'll excuse me, while "the needle's stuck on this old song and I can't move on", I have six albums to catch up on.

Oh, and what's the worst thing about the album? The difficulty in googling it, given that album four was Saved by Rock 'n' Roll. Now, Rock 'n' Roll is pretty accurate, but hey.

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