When Brad Marr from Massive takes a young Aussie band under his wings, you pay attention. To an extent you also know what you will get with said band, in this case Ablaze. No-frills, energetic, hard rock ‘n’ roll with one eye on getting out of the bloody pub before the manager notices them skipping on the rising bar-bill. Nobody does this type of music as good as the Aussies. Germany and Sweden come close, but with the miles bands have to put in between gigs, it’s Australia that comes out on top, Christ it’s called Aussie Rock for a reason!
So Ablaze then, Aussie for sure, but with no suggestions of a ‘DC influence in their sound. Nah mate, it’s still only rock ‘n’ roll, but without the high pitched Bon Scott/Brian Johnson copycat vocals, or the trademark Young riffage (‘Two’s Up’ being the exception). It’s also bloody good fun. Plenty of songs about the simpler things in life; drinking and rock ‘n’ roll. All played with a youthful energy oozing with vim and vigour.
Debut album ‘No Chaser’ kicks off with a simple little ditty called ‘Back For More’, which is subtly controlled by the nailed-on drumwork of Dan ‘Mango’ Mangano. Very light with some top riffage from Ben Anderson on lead guitar and his partner in crime Matt Dynon on rhythm. This gives way to ‘Dirty Little Secret’ where you might pick up a Joe Perry influence or two, the gang-vocals are more LA than Melbourne, but the guitar solo from 2.40 minutes on is pure Boston bred. With its phat-ass bass rumblings, ‘Kings & Queens’ belongs to bassist Dave Knight, top work mate, and look out for the song blasting straight into the cowbell driven ‘Just A Taste’. We are talking a ten on The Fast Show/Jazz Club “Nice” scale here.
Knight continues to steal the show on ‘(We’re Gonna) Rock ‘n’ Roll’ which begins with a JJ Burnell sized bass rumble (walking on the beaches looking at the…), and turns into a groovy little number. Vocalist Danny Slaviero has a clean, soulful voice which hints that he has more in the tank if called upon. He doesn’t over-reach or over-sing, he simply gets the job done and moves on, if you need an Aussie comparison then perhaps Screaming Jets frontman Dave Gleeson might be a good start? Especially on the ultra-catchy ‘Bad Tattoo’ and ode to sobriety ‘Where’s My Drink?’. The latter brings a Celtic jig to the party and will no doubt be a cornerstone of the live show. But when Slaviero and Ablaze slow it down, on the epic ‘The Darkest Day (What I’ve Become)’ for instance, there is a gritty sense of realism to his vocals, the same grit that Ricky Warwick brings to Black Star Riders.
Catch Ablaze on their debut UK tour, a good night seems guaranteed and remember to splash the cash on the album at the merch desk, these boys travelled a long way to play so don’t give the money to Spotify.
Review – Dave
Remaining live dates –
Nov 23 – Hangar 18 – Swansea
Nov 24 – Cobblestones – Bridgewater
Nov 25 – AltChelt – Cheltenham
Nov 26 – Trillians – Newcastle
Nov 27 – Bannermans – Edinburgh
Nov 29 – Winterstorm Festival – Troon
Nov 30 – Woolpack Live – Doncaster
Dec 1 – Fiddlers Elbow – London
More information here.