A horrible hack


Scandinavian Leather

Year Released: 2003
Format: CD
Label: Burning Heart
Reviewed by Martin Brown on Jun 13, 2007
It's an event when one of your all time favourite bands releases a new record. In this case it's marked with particular peculiarity, the band in question having broken up after releasing the greatest rock record of the past 20 years (1998's 'Apocalypse Dudes'), only to reform and be hyped as the new Hives.

After an 'Apocalypse.' mimicking intro, 'The Blizzard of Flames', the new record kicks in with 'Wipe it til it Bleeds', an almost total deviation from anything I've heard them do before, besides perhaps 'Humiliation Street' off the last record. It's a driving, slower, 'rock'ier 'negro, treading the gaps between the Ramones' slower efforts, T-Rex and KISS. This is the dominating sound on songs like 'Sell Your Body (To the Night), 'Fuck the World', and 'I Want It All'. It's brilliant, but the urgency isn't quite there.

It'd be utterly stupid to say this is an album without highlights though. The best songs off this are the more 'balls to the wall', gutsy punk songs. 'Gimme Some', in its vocal homage to Spinal Tap is an encouraging start to the album's better moments. 'Turbonegro Must Be Destroyed' is a fantastic 'fuck you' to the band's naysayers ('They always fake it / too bad they made it / it's not a problem to me. / They're really smart but / they got no heart and / they make my asshole bleed!') and the ending to 'Train of Flesh' is a fantastically arranged rockout. 'Ride With Us' is a suitably gutsy ending to the record, a kind of dumbed-down 'Good Head'.

The best song on the record by a country mile is 'Drenched in Blood', which would only sound out of place on one of The Ramones' best records on account of Euroboy's orgasmic solos. This was possibly the best song I saw them play earlier this month in London out of all songs old and new, the fun added by an enormous bucket of fake blood poured over the crowd by Hank.

If any other band had released this record, it would be an instant classic. It's merely the knowledge that this is the band who produced 'Apocalypse Dudes' and 'Ass Cobra' that lets this record fall slightly short of expectations. With expectations that high however, how can you be anything but over the moon to have one of the greatest rock n roll bands of all time release a new record? My point entirely. It's not cool to like them anymore on account of the massive Kerrang/NME hype they're receiving (as a part of some Scandinavian rock scene, as a 'novelty' band, as anything they think will sell them), but this band stole my heart and eardrums with 'Apocalypse Dudes', and while they still have the capacity to rock out better than pretty much every other band on the planet (which they most certainly do), I'm not going anywhere.

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