Remember when rock n’ roll was young, dumb and full of cum?! Stevie R Pearce does, and he’s here to raise the roof, put the X back in sex and deliver the fun big time. You may know him from his days (or should that be daze?) in The Black Bullets, or more recent stints with Warrior Soul or Jizzy Pearl’s latest incarnation of Love/Hate. Well, the singer/guitar slinger is back with The Hooligans for another stabs of turbo-charged rock n’ roll in the shape of the sophomore long player ‘Major League Son Of A Bitch’.
Originally slated for release pre-pandemic, this album has been a long time coming, but it sure is worth the wait. The dirty, metallic riffage and sleazy vocalisin’ of opener ‘Rip It Out’ sets the scene with a statement of intent. The band play hard and fast and with a top-notch production job from everyone’s go-to-guy Dave Draper, it seems first impressions really do last. Remember when rock bands sounded dangerous? Yeah, I’m talking everyone from Gn’R and AC/DC to Marilyn Manson, they all had their moments. Now, I’m not saying The Hooligans are in the same league as the big hitters, but they have that certain something that just makes my ears prick up and go “oohh!”
Let’s take the commercial, radio friendly single ‘Rush Of Blood To The Head’. Now back in the day this song would’ve been serious MTV fodder. I can visualize the video now, dry ice, the band all dressed in white, with strippers writhing around them…but its 2021 right now, so there’s none of that nonsense! But, hell that’s a tune alright. And there’s more where that came from. ‘How High’ channels turn of the century Scandinavian rock n’ roll to the max. Sonically seductive guitars are slung from the crotch, and the ghosts of Turbonegro and Backyard Babies scream along to the gang vocals.
The title track features Love/Hate screamer Jizzy Pearl and was apparently inspired by that time the singer crucified himself on the Hollywood sign as a publicity stunt. Yes, that actually did happen folks, you didn’t dream it! Actually, the metallic riffage and the sleazy demeanor does bring to mind Love /Hate at their finest. A major league chorus, gang vocals and a killer guitar solo. Sleazy does it boys, you’re ticking all the right boxes here.
Yet ‘Major League Son Of A Bitch’ is far from a one trick pony. They tackle trippy 70’s rock in ‘Just A State Of Mind’, And they nail dumb ass punk n’ roll on the tongue-in-cheek ‘Lunatics By The Pool’. With its epic, soaring guitar solo, the former is a highlight, and the latter is a degenerated cacophony with an anthemic hook designed to party. An ‘oi oi’ punk melody that is as British as fish n chips on Blackpool Pier.
An album highlight must be the acoustic ballad ‘If I Were Blind’. A song that shows the development of Stevie’s songwriting and showcases the softer side of his rock n’ roll pallet. With its piano and string section it may not be quite as epic as ‘November Rain’, but it sure feels better than an April shower. Emotive and heartfelt, it tugs at the heartstrings in all the right places, building nicely to a sweet chorus that begs you to hold your lighter in the air. Boys, don’t be afraid to shed a tear and hold your girl’s hand just a little bit tighter.
‘Major League Son Of A Bitch’ is a diverse, yet classic sounding rock record that embraces the past, yet feels contemporary. While Stevie and his Hooligans sure bring the party to the max, they carry with them an element of danger, something that is lost on the majority of so many so-called rock n’ roll bands these days. Get this album on your ‘to buy’ list and when you do, crank the volume to the max, you know Jizzy would approve.
Author: Ben Hughes