CAPAC recommends: The Bullhounds – “protector”
(Original review published May 25 2014 in Danish on www.capac.dk/wordpress)
The cover of The Bullhounds’ new album is adorned by a small extract of the painter Paul Klee’s ink drawing Der Beschützer (The Protector) which is on display at Tate Gallery. The extract shows the protector – a non-specified dog with flappy ears and an aggressive yawning gob. As listeners we are already here dropped a co0uple of hints about the music hidden on the album.
The album was recorded in Atlanta Georgia a warm and sweaty August in 2011 and the mandatory thank you notes in the cover refer to the chief producer Jeff Bakos et al. who together with the band member Erling Daell has been responsible for the production and the other Bullhounds as ‘protectors and creators of rock’n’roll’.
We are thus dealing with people who will fight for rock’n’roll – but not just any kind of the beloved music genre. In the above mentioned thank you notes, inspiration from both Georgia Satellites – as well as – yes, who else? – Chuck Berry, is highlighted.
These two iconic evidences point to the lifeblood of rock that range from Chuck Berry’s elementary, cheerful preaching of a not always uncomplicated daily life with school, work, girlfriends and parties in the street to Georgia Satellites’ revitalisation of good time rock’n’roll to our days unspoiled, punk-rock. And that is exactly what we get from the speakers: No bullshit-rock’n’roll.
Nor the wheel or the hot barber water are reinvented. Together with the friends (Tom Gray, lap steel guitar, hammond organ, Matt Wachope, piano and hammond organ), The Bullhounds (Erling Daell, vocal, Rick Richards, guitar, Peter Stroud, guitar, Mauro Magellan, drums – and Keith Christopher, bas) deliver the basic, non-technology polluted clean version of rock’n’roll. The Bullhounds’ attitude are made clear already in the first song “Fugitive” which is an almost archetype love song about love and lust as a prison which the man in the song wishes to escape from. An ode to freedom delivered with Daell’s raw, masculine voice and springy rock guitar records – taken directly from the Junior Woodchucks’ little book for rock’n’rollers. It becomes almost even more basic in the song ‘Make it’ where the text has been limited to simple, short statements: “Make it loud/Make it pop/Make it hard/Make it hot…” A super simple song about just doing it: deliver the goods – rock’n’roll. It is a gripping rock song (written by Alec White), which in all its simplicity almost beats Chuck Berry who’s otherwise considered the master of simple, but very explicit songs.
And so it continues to the love song “Little Lady”, which clearly owes a lot to Berry’s “Memphis Tennessee” and is an unambiguous declaration of love to Berry’s genre defined rock. Where ‘Little Lady’ celebrates a woman that can satisfy all the male needs, the girl in “Mean Mean Girl” is the exact opposite. A bitch that is downright mean. A little balance is brought to the sexes with this song that updates Berry’s rock to a modern, up-tempo rock’n’roll, which could easily be represented on the before mentioned Satellites’ setlist.
The texts on the album move perfectly within the well-known theme. There are the already mentioned songs about the often complicated relationships with the beautiful sex (those songs take up quite a bit of space on the album) and songs about a male life where you live from hand to mouth, search for the right woman and the purpose of life – and where the purpose most of all seems like: rock’n’roll.
“protector” is not an album that shakes the impressing construction that we call rock’n’roll. It is an album that is lovingly loyal, yes devoted to the best rock’n’roll has to offer -both music- and text wise. Protector is rather one of those balks that keep the building standing – proud in all its glory.
Thus “protector” joins the row of albums which once in a while appear and with vitality and charm show us how it all began and demonstrate where the source of fascination to the often pronounced dead rock’n’roll lies. A needed album conscious of tradition that I can only give my warmest recommendations. And now, it would be appropriate for The Bullhounds to tour the summer festivals and teach the youth – and those who have come out of it – a lesson in rock’n’roll.
The Bullhounds. “protector”. Produced by Erling Daell, Jeff Bakos, Peter Stroud and Mauro Macgellan. RockBastard Records. Released May 26 2014.