When sequencing the tracks for Headstunts, The Datsuns must have decided not to risk even one
moment of apathy from the listener.
“Human Error” opens the album with a pick angrily scraping the guitar
strings; a clarion call to the avalanche of fury that bursts out of every
available throat and instrument for the next two minutes. Pinned to your chair,
you realize the gauntlet has been thrown down, and for most of the next eleven
tracks, the band is up to the challenge. By adding some more glam, garage and pop to
their hard rock, they’ve rearranged their sound a bit (much like the album
title is an anagram of the band’s name).
Let’s face it, subtlety is not their forte, and there are
whiffs of past greats to be found everywhere. “Ready Set Go” sounds like U2
playing a Clash song, or vice versa. “Eye of the Needle” starts out sounding like
Pink Floyd and ends up as Alice Cooper circa Love it To Death; likewise “Highschool Hoodlums” echoes Jet (complete with opening tambourine shake)
playing Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” before settling into a more up-tempo
stomping rocker. Deep Purple organ meets
garage/surf guitar on “Hey Paranoid People”, while the guitar tone on “Your
Bones” bleeds Jimmy Page. Apparently
they picked up a few tricks from being part of Ozzfest and having John Paul
Jones produce their second album.
What lifts this album up a notch from the sonic pool is their
relentless energy. New drummer Ben Cole is a pounder, but the real treats are
the occasionally amazing guitar licks from Christian Livingstone and Philip
Somervell, especially on “Yeah Yeah Just another Mistake” and “So Long”. Vocals sometimes fight to rise above the noise,
and lead singer Rudolf De Borst sounds uncannily like Perry Farrell, albeit
fronting a much more hardcore Jane’s Addiction (“Pity Pity Please”, “So Long”).
But adding the Hammond
really fills out their sound; “Cruel Cruel Fate” is as radio-friendly as hard
rock gets, and the lengthy jam of “Somebody Better” gives a taste of what the
band must be able to pull off in a live setting.
Standout Tracks: “Cruel Cruel Fate,” “Somebody Better,” “Yeah Yeah Just Another Mistake” BILL