Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Hollywood Brats


Once again, I am fairly astonished that I have not written about this one before, seeing as I've owned it for ages. I pulled it out since I am reading the singer's (Andrew) autobiography and the record is always a fun time. I think I first heard about this group (which later became the punk-pop band, The Boys) from Jeff Dahl's I Was a Teenage Glam Fag album and since theirs was one of the few songs I didn't know, I figured I needed to search them out. 

Born in the early 70's, they obviously took their look'n'style from the New York Dolls and the British glam scene but their sound is certainly pre-punk - possibly even snottier than the Dolls! Opening with the tune that Dahl covered, "Chez Maximes", they prove that they were the template for many-a-band to follow - loud guitars, chant-along chorus and high-energy chaos abounds - definitely a mix of glam and what would become punk rock. Bringing the tempo down to a more middle ground, they embark on their own teenage lament, "Another School Day", with poppier hints of some of the 50's songs they once covered, there's a bit of Stones-ian swagger in "Nightmare", which also bears some resemblance to some of the Boys' tunes with vocal sassiness and riffin' guitars, and ironically, they throw in a short Stones-ish acoustic, slide-blues (bemoaning their "Empty Bottles")  despite singer Andrew's distaste for the genre.

But they are moving again in "Courtesan", another bit of 70's bluster that culminates with some neat call'n'answer, next, there's a heavy'n'peppy version of the Crystals "Then He Kissed Me" (obviously, well before Kiss covered it), that they do without changing the sex of the beau, which I sure went over well with some of the drunken punters they were performing for at the time! "Tumble With Me" ended up in the Boys repertoire, but here it is considerably slower, but still a heavy, melodic stomper with some fine 70's leads licks, and they produce pure power pop in the oddly-named yet 60's-ish "Zurich 17" (one of their best, most melodic numbers, with an homage to girl groups in the repeated "be my baby" refrain), and move into early Flamin' Groovies-kinda territory for "Southern Belles" mixed with some pop-isms they again incorporated in their later incarnation, "Drowning Sorrows" is a bit of a rip of the Stones' take on "Love in Vain" mixed with their "I Got the Blues" before the fine finale of "Sick on You", which worked much better as a punk tune than a grossly glam number!

The production could be a little better, but generally the sound is pretty good - plenty of loud guitars and snotty vocals, although the keyboards are buried in the mix somewhat. I do think that the guys improved as they became the Boys and stream-lined'n'fine-tuned their songwriting a bit, but this is still a fun example of a previously lost 70's high energy rock'n'roll band!