Fourth album from Guttercats; that will be the French based four piece as opposed to the Coventry based punk outfit, or the LA glam-rock bunch from Sunset Strip whose greatest achievement was their appearance in an episode of ‘Married With Children’ – I should of realised this sooner as the accompanying press release is entirely in French; this despite the fact the album is co-released on labels in France, Spain and Sweden…and the lyrics are sung in English – no doubt all this sort of pan border confusion will cease come March 2019 when we “take back control” or for balance “turn out the lights”.
Our near neighbours have always had a penchant for sleazy, underbelly garage rock ‘n’ roll, and that’s exactly where Guttercats position themselves; opener ‘A Trip Down Memory Lane’ being perfectly titled as it arches back to a late 60’s vibe; the touchstones of rock n’ roll, swirling washes of colour underpinned by some resonating bass tones, strident, distinct vocals delivered in accented English; similarly on ‘(Beyond The Limits) Before I Die’ though this has a sound more reminiscent of an 80’s guitar band, what later came to be tagged as Alt-Rock – a full sound, with some evocative slide guitar work that instantly had me reaching for my Gun Club collection.
‘Sweet Little Sister’ leans heavily on a saxophone, it’s a laconic smokey ramble that rumbles forward into the lengthy ‘Follow Instinct’, a brooding straight ahead rocker that sees Guttercats mine the darker Parisian avenues to great effect taking you on a journey into seamier excess, as the track builds to a climatic collapse.
‘Down In The Hole’ has an exploratory feel, complete with some Bad Seeds style piano flashes amongst the overall snarl – its hard not to be drawn towards muted Inca Babies (lazy) comparisons, and for that I apologise.
Guttercats have crafted a fine album, the production is perfect and allows the guitar-based rhythms to shine whilst perfectly complimenting the vocal delivery; Guttercats wear their influences on their sleeve, but they have wisely not taken the option to replicate something created 30 years ago.
Trip Down Memory Lane
(Beyond The Limits) Before I Die
Sweet Little Sister
Follow Your Instinct
I Promise You
Don’t Cry On My Shoulder
Down In The Hole
No Remorse No Regrets
On The Road
Follow Your Instinct (Acoustic Version)
The limited edition CD (300 Copies) includes a bonus track ‘Follow Your Instinct’ (Acoustic Version)