Release Date: 8 July 2016
Label: Off Yer Rocka Recordings
Gill Montgomery, – guitar/vocals,
Hannah McKay, – drums/backing vocals,
Heather McKay, – bass/backing vocals,
- Batter Up (Montgomery)
- Let The Neighbours Call The Cops (Montgomery/Warwick)
- Come ‘n’ Get It (Montgomery)
- Roll (Montgomery)
- Crusader (Montgomery/Morley)
- Eyes On The Prize (Montgomery)
- Pervert Alert (Montgomery/Morley)
- White Russian Roulette (Montgomery/Morley)
- Man Meat (Montgomery)
- Stealing Thunder (Montgomery)
I have seen The Amorettes, a Scottish band based in Edinburgh, live a couple of times (Camden Rocks 2015 and 2016) and I loved them both times (though Gill’s American accent confuses me). It’s such a full on performance and they rock their hearts out and involve us, the crowd, totally – it feels like like a party! Given the chance of reviewing ‘White Heat’ their new pledge album released on 27th June and produced by Thunder’s Luke Morley, the album features songwriting by Morley and Black Star Riders frontman Ricky Warwick, I jumped at the chance and…oh. Oh dear…
Now I am a product of the 90’s and Noughties so being influenced by that, I do like lyrics and stories to be told and situations commented on and anger, happiness, on and on… The lyrical content of each song (except ‘Pervert Alert’ which I will come to later) just seems to be teenage boys singing about what they wish they were doing but are too puny to try. I am not saying it needs to be political or over the top but at least give me a few twists and turns with my emotions as I listen.
Now having seen them play live, I wonder why the backing vocals are so weak. I have heard them especially Heather McKay and I don’t understand why they feel the need to have the backing vocals recede so much into the background? Listen to the track ‘Stealing Thunder’ – with such a strong riff, you need the chorus to be loud and gutsy and for that you not only need the lead vocals to hit you but the backing vocals as well and yet they sound so flimsy and quiet. Even though I have listened to it a few times and know what’s coming, it still disappoints me each time.
‘Batter Up’ is the opening track on the album. The chorus reminds me of Kenny Loggins and it is a fast paced song which is ok but old fashioned. I think it’s setting the theme for the album which looks like a trip down hair metal memory lane but I have been here before. So lets try the next one.
‘Let the Neighbours Call The Cops’ is the first single off the new album which they showcased at Camden Rocks 2016 which went down well. It’s classic rock and roll so it works extremely well in the live environment but it’s got that theme as mentioned before which I have heard so often. With what’s happening in the world, it can be taken two ways – the nostalgic feel of the 70’s and 80’s channeling Joan Jett or just wanting to ignore the world as it stands. Yep a song that will divide listeners.
‘Pervert Alert’ is my favourite and has the attitude I am looking for in a female rock band. It has the right message and I may have to download the song on to my phone and use it next time its needed. Great rhythm to the song and a catchy tune – the kind you can learn and sing along to is always a winner. I have a habit of singing fave songs aloud – this could get me and a poor random man on a packed tube in trouble.
Now ‘Man Meat’ is a difficult one. This could also be viewed as a strong female song but it feels like a weak song. There is no oomph and apart from the intro, it isn’t exciting. Also I am uncomfortable with the lyrics I can make out. I am not a die hard feminist ie burn your bra but if this was performed by a male band, it would either be Steel Panther or ripped apart for being so sexist. Songs like this can stand up as part of a different era but nowadays I would rather listen to ‘Pervert Alert’ and sing along.
Please don’t think I am dismissing the band as they are awesome live and I think they have got so much more to give as they go on but I don’t think this offering is a patch on their earlier albums ’Haulin’ Ass’ released 2010 and especially ‘Game On’ release last year. I think they could be so much more inventive especially with Gill (and Heather’s) fantastic vocals and their awesome musical skills – Hannah McKay’s drumming is always a joy to hear and watch. I will love to hear more from these women but this album is the score given below apart from ‘Pervert Alert’. Now excuse me – I have to get the tube. Hope it’s not jam packed…
Score: 6/10 (except for ‘Pervert Alert’ which gets 8/10)
Co-Headlining Tour with Love Zombies September 2016