Monday, May 16, 2005

CD Review: Stoneage Hearts - Guilty As Sin


“Rock and roll boys and rock and roll girls are the only people I want to be with, rock and roll boys and rock and roll girls are the only people I can agree with” sings Dom Mariani on one of the many stellar tracks off the new Stoneage Hearts album, Guilty As Sin, and he’s been doing the rock and roll thing so long you better believe him. Mariani was a member of the seminal Oz rock band The Stems who could have eaten the Men At Work for lunch and still have room left for an INXS dessert. Stoneage Hearts are carrying on the rock and roll blowtorch with such fierceness the Vines better watch their back.

We’re talking prime rock and roll material here: the classic trio format with Dom on vocals and guitar, Ian Wettenhall on vocals and bass, and the Mickster on drums. It’s a rock and roll vehicle stripped down to its essential elements, a primer coated beater hiding a nitro powered motor winning every drag race it enters. It’s not mere primitivism that gives the album its oomph, because the Stoneage Hearts could probably outplay any local gathering of prog rock musicians. Mariani blows up song after song with intricate and powerful guitar riffs and notes. Wettenhall may have a name better suited for a law firm, but he lays down fluid dive bombing bass runs that fill in the spaces which is essential for a trio. This leaves Mickster to keep it solid and he does; keeping his head while everybody else is losing theirs. Baroque and bombastic psychedelic cuts mesh with straight up garage stompers to make one glorious traditional, but never staid record.

The Mariani penned epic “Eye Of A Lie” starts the proceedings off with a bang; a huge psychedelic opus grand and sweeping. The churning rocker “Your Smile” showcases Wettenhall’s voice, which resembles Peter Case. You get some bang for your buck with Stoneage Hearts: two distinctive vocalists and two songwriters. Most bands can barely produce one in these times dominated by studio computer trickery. “Green With Envy” features some fast and twisted fretwork from Dom. Wettenhall breaks out the harmonica on “Fussy Garbos” on a song with a classic telling her off line, “I’m the garbage man, but your trash isn’t good enough”; my notes read damn this shit rocks and I’ll stick with my first impressions there. It takes a lot of cheek to write a song with rock and roll in the title these days, but the punky “Rock’n’Roll Boys Rock’n’Roll Girls” succeeds lyrically and musically. “Biff Bang Pow”, a cover of the band they resemble sonically, The Creation, is thrown in for good measure.

Guilty As Sin is put simply; one hell of a rock and roll album and while the days of rock and roll ruling the marketplace are over, the Stoneage Hearts should rule over the hardy true believers CD and record players this summer. The album is available through Alive - Total Energy Records. Get it today, you know you don’t want to hang around with anybody else.

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