Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Hellacopters - Strikes Like Lightning / The Hellacopters & Gluecifer - Respect the Rock America

Not sure exactly where this CD-EP comes in the band's discography but the copyright date makes it right about the time, or right after, By the Grace of God and the sound here would seem to confirm that. Chips is again producing and the songwriting is very similar - 70's guitar rock with Nicke's particular brand of power-melodies. There's only 6 songs here - "Turn the Wrong Key", "Take Me On", "A View From Nowhere", "Blinded by the Light" (not the Springsteen song), "Fiends and Frankensteins". and "On The Line" - so the only issue you're gonna have with this is that it will be over way too soon. This seems to be somewhat of a sampler for the label (Psychout, leased to Sweet Nothing) so maybe this was before they signed to Liquor and Poker? Regardless, as usual, this is excellent rock'n'roll!

Respect the Rock America is an earlier release, recorded in 1998 with 3 or the 'Copters 5 songs including
original guitarist Dregen (who left for his other band, the Backyard Babies) and the other two with Lee Fett, who was replaced by Strings. Four of the tunes are covers, but damned cool ones, starting with their obvious influence, the MC5 and "American Ruse". This is a solidly powerful take on this classic, with, quite frankly, better production and punch than the original and with Nicke shouting "rest in peace, Sonic" rather than the original "rock 'em back, Sonic". A rather surprising cover is Lynyrd Skynyrd's record label rant "Working For MCA", but it works in their hands. There's no less than 6 guitar players credited on this one so you can bet that there are layers of cool leads here! Taking another cue from the MC5, Nicke attempts to tap into his inner soul side with Wilson Picket's "Man and a Half" and while this is rockin', it doesn't work quite as well as the others. Now, I love early Bob Seger, so I have no issue with anyone covering his work and this take on "Her Strut" kicks ass on Bob's terrific original, which might have had more swagger, but this has more pure energy. The one original here is their closer, "Doggone Your Bad Luck Soul", a fabulous, noise-drenched, slower number with lots of edge and guitar leads, licks and riffs moving in and out and round'n'round. Pretty damned fantastic!

Unfortunately, Gluecifer has to follow this carnage and are, frankly, left wanting in the comparison. Hailing from Oslo, Norway, they were more of a straight-ahead punk rock band and not nearly as creative or proficient as the mighty 'Copters. They have energy to spare, and the band is super-tight, but the songs just aren't quite there - not bad, by any means, but just not that step above that you would like from a great group, as opposed to simply a good one. Their songs here are "Gary O'Kane", "Shitty City", "My Card Says Typhoon Killer", "No Goddamn Phones" and "Going Down" - all solid, just not special.