Wednesday 24 April 2019

The Short Fuses - Dawn of the Deaf (2019)

Country: USA
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 23 Apr 2019
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Official Website | Twitter

I have to own up to being rather confused here for a while. I'm not familiar with the Short Fuses, who haven't released an album since 2003, but this new one opens with Baby Got Bat Wings, sounding like a garage band with a female singer trying to be Danzig and that's close to the last thing I expected.

To be brutally honest, I don't know quite what I expected from an album with this front cover, but that wasn't it. It's designed to look like a used LP but the font and image layout screams Jefferson Starship's Red Octopus and, while it's been a long while since I've listened to that one (no Jorma and no Jack), I don't recall Grace Slick ever sounding like Glenn Danzig.

The Pink ditches Danzig for AC/DC, appropriately given the energy levels on show here, but it's Motorcycle Pill that really shows us what the band are all about, because it's pure, undistilled kick ass rock 'n' roll. They're a power trio with Miss Georgia Peach doubling up on bass and vocals, so it's hardly surprising to find Motörhead cited as an overt influence. I have no idea how they introduce themselves on stage, but if it isn't with the line, "We are the Short Fuses and we play rock 'n' roll", it should be.

They describe themselves as "Blondie, MC5 and Motörhead in a blender" and I can see that. The Blondie is primarily in the vocals, though there may be a little more in the music too, if we slow it down somewhat. Galloping Ghost could be a Blondie song at half speed. The MC5 is obviously in the attitude and the way that they often verge on falling completely apart but never do, because the band are so tight that they can pretend not to be and totally get away with it.

Rock Yo Self (Until You Wreck Yo Self) and Furiosa are the most obviously Motörhead influenced songs on the album, not only because they sound rather like them, but because they're obviously just as rooted in old school rock 'n' roll. I heard a lot of Fast Eddie Clarke here in Travis Ramin's guitar, but just as much Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. There's a lot of Johnny B. Goode in You Ain't Shit.

I heard a little seventies flavour in Furiosa too and that's more obvious in You Ain't Shit and No. I don't just mean the Ramones, who are all over the place here too, because they worked from the same influences Motörhead did, merely exploring them in a more punk than metal framework. I'm hearing glam rock here too, artists like Suzi Quatro or Joan Jett, even some Ram Jam Band.

And all this makes for a heady mix. The closest band I can think of is one that comes up in their story quite a lot, namely Nashville Pussy. They used to tour with them back in the late nineties; members later recorded for Ramo Records, run by Georgia Peach and Travis Ramin; and this album was produced by Daniel Rey, who had also produced for Nashville Pussy. However, the Short Fuses seem wilder and heavier to me but with more mainstream vocals. Maybe that's the Blondie influence, though Miss Georgia Peach doesn't aim for the sweetness of Debbie Harry.

I haven't heard the first three Short Fuses albums, released between 1999 and 2003, but this one kicked me in the teeth and I liked it. The only song that didn't do it for me is the closer, an experimental piece called High Score, but the rest are glorious. Now, someone please explain to me what this has to do with Red Octopus!

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