When two legends join forces it should be something to get excited about. Hype it up baby I say. If you were to mention Radio Birdman or ‘Raw Power’ by the stooges people who know a thing or two about Rock and Roll would pin their ears back and rub their hands at the prospect of the two guitar player making a record together. Following in the footsteps of previous pioneers such as Wayne Kramer and Brian James or the ill-fated union of Johnny Thunders and Wayne Kramer the prospect of James Williamson and Deniz Tek joining forces is a mouth-watering prospect.
Wait no more pop pickers for ‘Two To One’ is here the two legendry six-string players and let me tell you it doesn’t disappoint in any way shape or form.
Sure the opener ‘Jet Pack Nightmare’ is a wall of hard-rockin’ guitars sounding like prime time Thin Lizzy rocking on a garage rock backbeat and no sooner has it hit the speakers are you immediately taken to that place where music fans grin from ear to ear and know that these two are about and they compliment one and other perfectly. Scandinavia has spent decades trading off the work of these two and bands like the Hellacopters owe a huge debt to their skills and now the old dogs are about to teach a few new tricks.
Reading the pair’s mutual admiration for each others work both historically and current is heartwarming and the fact that they both found the time to do this is a real triumph. Williamson’s last foray into the recording world was the most excellent ‘Relicked’ album but that was a whole six years ago! so having Deniz on board was an exciting proposition. The lead track ‘Stable’ sure has that guttural ‘Raw Power’ ‘Kill City’ sludge to it and its begging to be played at volume – where it really excels and sounds best and the inclusion of the one-note piano is a classic touch.
To be fair I was wondering how the vocals would be split and if they had the chops to pull it off. To be fair I don’t know why I doubted either because they stay in their comfort zone and the low almost spoken tones really work to temper the rough edges of some of those raw guitar licks and has an air of reassurance about the vocals throughout the record.
The pair take on subjects like ‘Climate Change’ and are a match for any band making garage rock and roll records in 2020. The enjoyment shines through as does the effortless quality riffs as they fly out of the speakers. Its not all raw power mind, they crack open the melodic, restrained laid back tones for the likes of ‘Take A Look Around’ with some impressive harmonies and the excellent acoustic-driven ‘Small Change’ which add depth to the record not that it would have been boring had it just been eleven driving proto-punk anthems but by the sounds of it this was a well-thought piece of work and not thrown together.
As the album wears on, its the changing of gears that make this record one of the best I’ve heard all year. The restrained build of ‘No Dreams’ and the widescreen lyrics that draw you in are excellent. The closing track ‘Mellisa Blue’ is more Lou Reid than Iggy Pop and by the sounds of it, the pair have taken the time to write a great record and not just live out what people would expect them to be for one last hurrah! The reason these two can still make records like this is that they are great songwriters and their catalogue of music will tell anyone that. It’s not luck, its skill and talent and it’s one of those ideas that came together and just feels right. By the sounds of it ‘Two To One’ is all killer and no filler, maybe the next one can be called ‘One Becomes Two’ what d’ya think? take my advice and just Buy It!
Author: Dom Daley