Wednesday 14 August 2019

The New Roses - Nothing But Wild (2019)

Country: Germany
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 2 Aug 2019
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The New Roses, who hail from Wiesbaden, Germany even though they don't sound like it, have been building a serious name for themselves over three albums and a lot of touring. This is number four and it's so full of energy that it might just explode in your hand. My only disappointment was that I heard the best track on it first, on Chris Franklin's Raised on Rock radio show, so it was all downhill from there.

Fortunately, it doesn't go very far downhill. If nothing's up to the quality of Down by the River, that doesn't mean that the other dozen tracks aren't a seriously good batch of songs. From the opener, Soundtrack of My Life, which is a six pack of Monster packed into three minutes of rock 'n' roll, Nothing But Wild does its level best to thrill us with music that's clearly new but just as clearly rooted in the classics.

One major compliment I can throw out is that, while I caught bits of a wide variety of rock artists in here, this band really don't sound like anyone else. I might, if you twisted my arm, raise Airbourne as a fair comparison, but that reflects on their shared approach more than anything else. The New Roses may have a little less AC/DC in their sound but it's still there, especially in some of their more relentless songs that don't want to stop for breath.

Down by the River is a great example of how they mix things up. It's a sort of Rick Springfield story song, but heavier and there's a lot of Scorpions in the melody of the chorus. There's glam rock riddled throughout the title track and there's a punk pop urgency to Unknown Territory. There's southern rock in The Bullet and more both country and AOR in The Only Thing; I spent a while wondering if it was more likely to be covered by Bryan Adams or one of those generic hunks in hats with twangy accents. To be fair, though, the crunch on the guitar elevates it past that sort of half insult.

Put it all together and it's very New Wave of Classic Rock, with songs like As the Crow Flies hard to describe in any other way. The band are certainly looking backwards, not just to a single style but to an entire era of music history. However, like some of the other bands wearing that banner, they're bringing those sounds into the modern era in a consistent manner to make the blistering hard rock fit alongside singalong clap-a-long songs like Meet Me Half Way, with clever lyrics like, "Don't be my partner, just be my partner in crime."

I haven't listed the band members, but that's because this is so much of a team effort and it's the songwriting that stands out first. Let's just say that nobody lets the side down and they all clearly had a lot of fun putting this together. If it doesn't feel too long at thirteen tracks, it's got to be fun, right?

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