Thursday, 31 August 2017

Album of the Month: Hot Rod Hearse - One Time, Pappie!

Hot Rod Hearse - One Time, Pappie!


Info: Fusing together Swamp blues, Rockabilly, Folk and straightforward Rock into a sound they call Thrift Shop Rock, Wexford  duo Hot Rod Hearse have just released their debut album, titled 'One Time, Pappie!' which dropped on the 27th August 2017. 

Having played the Strawberry Roots Festival in Enniscorthy, the Free Fringe Festival in Leitrim and the Dublin Rock 'n Roll Festival, Hot Rod Hearse now be release their first full album. An Irish tour is in the pipeline, as well as thereafter taking their music to the UK, Europe and further afield. 

It's no secret that I love, love, love the blues, the dirtier and rockier the better, from Rory Gallagher to Johnny Winter, from Son House to Jeff Beck, and from Peter Green to Albert King, that's when I'm in musical nirvana. Whilst we don't have as many blues artists in Ireland as in some other genres, the ones we have are of a very high standard, quite possibly because not just anyone can pick up a guitar and / or sing the blues, either you have it or you don't.

With all that in mind I was excited to come to grips with Wexford duo Hot Rod Hearse's debut LP, One Time, Pappie!. Having enjoyed the singles to date, and felt the authenticity of what they were creating, I knew I'd be fond of this album, but it even went beyond standard pleasure for me. You're straight into it with 'Broken Bones Man', an up tempo and light-hearted tranche of chaotic bluegrass which slides you toward that very first piece of sweet blues guitar at the 1:30 mark all the while enveloped with the ghost of Johnny Cash. We get knee-deep down and dirty with second track '1973', with Hotrod Suzi slowly dragging us willingly over the coals of her powerful and soulful vocal, the mood is chill and it's a lovely homage to 70's folk-blues, with an altogether appropriate title.



That folk infusion continues with the visual 'There By The Road', like a baptist preacher who has lost his way, guitarist and vocalist Zeff Ryder takes you all the way back to the delta in the 40's / 50's before throwing some more delicious blues riffs from a few decades later into the mixer. 'Ballsbridge to Ballymun' is probably like what an early The Who would sound like with Joan Jett fronting them, it's a swinging 2 minutes that adds a another dimension to the album. After the Ziggy Stardust-inspired and theatrical 'Roberta (Sweet N' Low)', we get hit up by another strong highlight on the album in the form of 'The Ferryman', vocally residing in the middle-ground between Cat Stevens and Neil Young, it has a blissful mid-60's feel to it. 

After the punk and glam-rock stylings of Spanner Valley comes '100 Year Old Elvis Grease', bringing you to neon-lit mid-western bars off a desolate highway some time in the 1980's. One Time, Pappie! closes with a live recording of 'Road River Road', it's quite a fitting end, with its high-energy and a healthy lashing of blues-rock riffage and attitude, it's really what Hot Rod Hearse are all about, re-interpreting the music that influenced them and stamping their personality on it. I guess the big boon for me with One Time, Pappie! was the musicianship, a clear obsession with blues-rock shining through and the unexpected mix of genres all placed on top of that blues foundation throughout whilst making them workable. 


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