Montreal-based good time rock ‘n’ rollers Dangereens came to my attention late last year by chance, on an Amazon playlist. I don’t even remember the song that made my ears prick up, I just remember looking at my phone, clocking the band name and praying I remembered it by the time I got home. I did, I listened to everything they had released that night and purchased their debut album ‘Tough Luck’ without a second thought.
Two singles and an EP released digitally, plus this 12-track album are all we have so far, but that will do me for now. But hell, I still don’t get how these boys slipped under our radar!
Led by singer/songwriter Hugo Chartrand, this 5-piece combo take us back to a time when hair was long, trousers were flared and doctors smoked as much as rock stars! It’s a cool mash-up of foot stompin’, 70’s glam, honky-tonk boogies, and garage rock n’ roll. If I were to throw band names in your direction, then I’d have to say this is prime Hanoi Rocks meets The Georgia Satellites, Jammin’ in a smoky bar with The Rolling Stones. Yes, it’s that good bruthas and sistas!
They got the look too. Skinny frames wrapped in skinny jeans; microphone stands draped in scarves and guitars slung from the knees. I mean, just look at the cover art…. that’s rock n’ roll debauchery right there, and I’m glad to say Dangereens sound as good as they look.
Opener and first single ‘Streets Of Doom’ is a frantic, fuzzy blast of energy. Full of sonically seductive licks, cool as you like Keef styled riffs and Hugo Chartrand’s laid-back drawl. It’s all held together by a pumping rhythm section. This band plays it like they mean it for sure.
‘Thieves’ melds the cool of New York punk with the edginess of UK punk and adds the danger of prime Guns n’ Roses. An ace mid-section takes the song to a different place for a moment before going off on a solo section to finish.
In every song, there are little snatches of stuff you know you’ve heard before, but can’t quite place. It’s like Dangereens are teasing you their influences one bar at a time and goading you into guessing. And if you do guess, they’ll just play it harder and faster and deliver you another winner.
The chorus in ‘Twelve Below Zero’ is familiar and that riff in ‘Love Jive’ is pilfered for sure. I can literally hear the singer snigger as he teases another line.
The boogie-woogie blues cuts are mighty and memorable. In ‘Hearse Driving Blonde’ they have captured the Englishness of mid 70’s Radio 1, I absolutely love this! The honky-tonk vibes of ‘Microwave Boogie’ sits well, channeling The Faces to perfection. And ‘Catpurse Blues’ is Joe Jackson jamming with The Stones, glorious power-pop with more doo-wops that you can shake a tambourine at.
Yet, Dangereens save their ace in the hole to sign things off. ‘(Bye Bye) Little Uptown Girl’ is a killer album closer. It’s got sax appeal and a tinkling of the ivories. It’s got killer backing vocals and a face-melting solo to boot. And the first time you hear it, it will sound like it’s been in your brain forever…and maybe it has.
It’s weird, but these songs sound like they’ve always been in my collection, and that my friends is the sign of a future classic album. Not since Scandinavian legends, Diamond Dogs has any band channeled this style of rock n’ roll so well, and for that, I commend Dangereens in all that they do.
In an ideal world, this band would be destined for greatness. Who knows what the future holds for rock n’ roll, but one thing’s for sure, ‘Tough Luck’ is the finest debut album I’ve heard in a very long time. Don’t let Canada’s finest new export slip under your radar!
Author: Ben Hughes