Music

Rose Tattoo: Pain

Jason MacNeil

Rose Tattoo

Pain

Label: SPV
US Release Date: 2002-07-02
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Back in the late '70s and early '80s, the depth of talented Australian rock groups was quite high. Having punk rockers Radio Birdman making some inroads internationally, groups like AC/DC would create a global presence for more than two decades. But for every AC/DC there is Rose Tattoo, a group that had just as much skill and ability but never reaped the rewards they so justly deserved. After breaking up in 1984, the band was requested by Guns N Roses to open for them for the Australian leg of its 1993 world tour. In 2000, the group returned with 25 to Life and a tour of Europe. Now, sounding like they're still joyfully stuck in a time machine circa AC/DC's Highway to Hell, the group has returned with a genuine good time rock and roll record.

Led by singer Angry Anderson, an enigmatic bald and heavily tattooed character, the band begins with a meaty and infectious "Black Magic". Not as raspy or ragged as Brian Johnson, Anderson is fully supported by Pete Wells on slide guitar and "Rockin'" Rob Riley on electric guitar. It's a perfect opener that sets the stage for much more of the same. "The Devil Does It Well" has more of an early '80s heavy metal feeling to it, with the constant 4/4 drumming of Paul DeMarco. While it might seem relative simplistic, the KISS philosophy (Keep It Simple, Stupid) sounds just as fresh now as it did in the group's first time around. The track tends to slouch slightly near the conclusion though, perhaps not fading out while it's still on top and instead going for a lengthy jam ending.

One aspect of the album you won't find that appealing is the lyrics. The group won't be known for its deep or hidden meanings in the words, but it's not supposed to be given the airtight rhythm section that sounds like it's a live take in the studio rather than being overly produced. "No Mercy" is a blend of the first two tracks, a bit more infectious than both with a faster tempo and more slide guitar deep in the bowels of the track. "Pain" is a Zeppelin-like tempo with Anderson's accent coming to the fore before building into a thundering guitar rock tune. It also has a lot in common with Judas Priest when Rob Halford was still the group's key component. "Kisses and Hugs" is a punk metal track that comes across like Aerosmith's "Young L.U.S.T.". "I don't need no one to tell me how to feel / Don't need a multi album deal," Anderson howls over a head banging, foot stomping tune.

"House Of Pain" is perhaps one of the more neatly packaged songs of the 16 presented. With a somewhat cookie-cutting blueprint, the band sounds a bit uninspired and lacking that oomph for the first time on the record. "I Can't Help It If I'm Lucky" has a lot in common with California punk legends Social Distortion in its punishing beat and infectious old-school rock guitar. "Union Man" deals with, well, the support of unions and "an honest day's work for an honest day's pay". "Satan's Eyes" misses the mark with a heavy metal theme and sound that doesn't look good on the quintet. "Hard Rockin' Man" and the quasi-funky "Stir Crazy" are two of the strongest here though, the latter relying far more on a groove than any crunchy guitar riff.

The last quarter of the album stands up against the other dozen tracks, but tends to improve on the earlier portions. "Living Outside My Means" has much more of galloping beat to it with Anderson playing more of a bit role than being a dominating force. His madcap laughs and devil-may-care diatribe only adds to the song's appeal. "Illustrated Man" continues on the hard and enjoyable rock path with another high-octane 4/4 tempo and some stellar guitar work. The album isn't the art rock of Radiohead and doesn't truly care to be. If fans of AC/DC or just out and out great guitar rock haven't heard of this underrated band, don't say I didn't tell you!

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image