Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
Hey you, let's go to Canada to sample some audio delights from the rather marvellous Coney Hatch. Why? Well my friend, it just so happens that these guys have decided to record a brand new album which they're calling quite appropriately 'Four', due to it being their fourth studio opus.
After releasing some fairly well received albums, three to be precise during the 80s, they seemed to varnish without a trace and never even left a forwarding address! Thankfully though, 'Four' has plenty of highlights to make the toes tap, the fingers click and the head gently nod, and not necessarily in that order either.
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How did this mighty band reform after so many years apart I hear you ask? Well, it's a story that could be the making of a script for one of those true movies that have their own devoted television channels! Carl Dixon, lead vocalist with these melodic rockers was sadly involved in a serious car accident which left him in a coma. His wife, who at this alarming time was keen to revive her husband, reached out to the members of Coney Hatch asking them to speak over the phone to Dixon, and offer comforting and encouraging words.
As it happens, Andy Curran, bassist and vocalist in the band used this opportunity to express his hopes of a Coney Hatch reformation, and amazingly Dixon did indeed recall such an event during his route to recovery. It took a long time and courage to crawl to his feet and recover fully, and with a determination and self-belief Dixon found himself gathering his fellow band mates and doing what they find so natural, which is to Rock baby!
'Blown Away' kicks the celebration off in fine form, although with the opening guitar riff I thought I'd pressed play on the wrong album as it sounded very much like AC/DC. 'Boys Club' continues the pace with a chorus which is a little reminiscent of a Warrant song. I forget which one as I type this review. This isn't a negative point incidentally, merely an observation.
The loudest band in Toronto then proceed to get 'Down And Dirty' which made me feel a little uncomfortable, but then again us British don't like to overly show our emotions outwardly do we? 'Do It Again' and 'Connected' keep the quality levels maxed out and so far, so good.
Appropriately there's a song title called 'Revive' which slows the tempo down a little, but there's still a vibrant sign that these guys are really pumped up for this studio outing. 'We Want More' then fades in riding on the back of a chugging riff of guitar before finding its groove. The chorus grabs at the ears and shakes them with a rude, confrontational appeal whilst 'The Devil U Know' bursts into life before settling into an almost funky display.
With 'Four' it's all about a good production maintaining a smooth sound which compliments some groove, and in places hook-laden Rock. It's not as rough and gritty as AC/DC, or as layered and polished as modern day Def Leppard, but if you look in the chasm that lurks between both of those examples you'll find the sort of sound of Coney Hatch today.
With a wink and a nudge to AC/DC once more, 'Marseille' peeks out from the next corner and delivers a fun presentation. 'Keep Driving' flows effortlessly on the back of its predecessor sharing in the rhythmic tempo and saluting those who keep driving until the wheels fall off. I hasten to add that this is something that isn't recommended by anyone here at the mighty MetalTalk.net community!
With eleven tracks in total filling what is for the most part an enjoyable and bouncy album, plus by all accounts a celebration of their vocalist surviving what must have been a truly scary and dark time, 'Four' is something to add to the wish-list as we approach the final few months of 2013. You could do a lot worse than this album which shamelessly borrows some inspiration from AC/DC from time to time in the riff department, but on the whole keeps the attention and provides some catchy driving songs. Now then, where did I leave my Pontiac?
Carl Dixon (lead vocal, guitar)
Andy Curran (vocals, bass)
Steve Shelski (lead guitar)
Dave Ketchum (drums)
1. Blown Away
2. Boys Club
3. Down and Dirty
4. Do It Again
7. We Want More
8. The Devil You Know
10. Keep Driving
11. Holding On