Hell City Glamours
Hell City Glamours
03 November 2009
by Jon Kerr
There was no such thing as grunge. You can’t walk down the high street these days for kids in white jeans. Having pointy hair and tattoos of Les Paul guitars and go-go girls dancing through fire is still cool and always has been. Or so Hell City Glamours would have you believe. Hmmm…let’s pop that little bubble for them, shall we…
First released over a year ago in their native Australia, Hell City Glamours’s debut album has now landed in the UK. In essence, it’s a pleasing party record by a band who wear their influences – Black Crowes, Hellacopters, Aerosmith, AC/DC – so heavily on their sleeves that the material has ripped away violently and taken a few layers of skin with it. By their own admission, Hell City Glamours are primarily a live act who took a long time to find an opportunity to jump off Australia’s merri-go-round support circuit long enough to record an album worthy of their hard work on the road. But this sure ain’t it.
Proceedings kick off with ‘One Night Only’, which is…you guessed it…about touring in a rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s unimaginative topic suits the pub-rock-by-numbers structure of the song and it’s tempting not to bother playing more. ‘Flying Away’ sounds destined for one of those Driving Rock compilations, bearing that same cheesy pong of those well trodden ’80s standards by Aerosmith and ZZ Top. The lyrical quality shown by ‘Right My Wrongs’ and ‘Worst Kinda Man’ is little more than infantile and I can just imagine ‘In The Cold’ being played next week in the corner of my local, on a Wednesday night, in between a set of Black Crowes and Motley Crue covers, to an audience just trying to watch the match. ‘Worst Kinda Man’ also features a cowbell that sounds like it was left on the mix by accident.
Despite all that, when this album strides out of its comfort zone, it becomes momentarily enjoyable. The simple pleasure that is ‘Josephine’ is a punky jangly thing that could sit happily as one of Rancid’s B-sides. ‘High Brow’ is the album’s dirtiest moment, on which vocalist Oscar McBlack manages to sound like Anthony Keidis covering something off Appetite For Destruction – in a good way.
Watch the video to ‘One Night Only’ by Hell City Glamours
Elsewhere though, it’s business as usual. ‘Ready To Fall’ finds Hell City Glamours at their most frivolous, poppy (and missable) and the fact that ‘I’m Not Here’ has the record’s best chorus is the only thing to recommend about that track. Overall, this debut album is about as innovative as, well, its choice of title.
Allow me to use their own lyrics from ‘The Money’ to sum up: “That just don’t pass for music baby / Music had some soul / ‘Least it did some time ago”.
Sounds Like: Distant cousins of Black Crowes, Tokyo Dragons and Airbourne.
Top Tracks: ‘High Brow’ takes the chequered flag. ‘Josephine’ and ‘I’m Not Here’ complete the podium. All others DNF.
Hell City Glamours – Hell City Glamours tracklisting
One Night Only
Back To You
Ready To Fall
Right My Wrongs
I’m Not Here
Worst Kinda Man
In The Cold