It’s been a long time coming but finally, the wait is over. ‘Bronx Cheer’ is finally here and the wait has been well worth it. Having had the first insight into the new music from Conte way back when he toured with Michael Monroe in 2017 and had copies of his single in tow it has been a weird wait for this album what with a global lockdown and as we creep back out into daylight it seems that every musician and his dog has been creative and creating new music to get to our ears and through all the chaos we’ve had delays and whatnot but as soon as news crept out as to who was playing on this record anticipation began to grow.

Reeling in Charlie Drayton (Keith Richard Expensive wino) on the drums was a super cool catch as Drayton sure knows how to swing and where to raise the temperature and where to ease back. Steve also has his brother John on the bass and some cool hangs with Clem Burke (Blondie), Andy Rourke (The Smiths), and Jesse Malin for good measure.

Kicking off proceedings with the loose and effervescent ‘The Human Animal’ once the lid is removed the song fizzes along with a happy-go-lucky rhythm and something of a restrained vocal easing the listener in gently. The record kicks off as soon as ‘Liar Like You’ cranks up the ante. Racing off like the bastard child of The Ramones and Replacements with nicely placed backing vocals helping Conte as he comes out swinging.

We hit one of the singles we’ve previously heard in the shape of Rock and Roller ‘Recovery Doll’ one where the spirit of Keith Richards is evident with some great playing, built around a great deal of swing from the band from top to bottom this is a classy number around a traditional theme. Cool stuff. Staying with a retro vibe ‘Wildwood Moon’ has some great lyrics and of course, great playing that is captivating and a real sunshine song.

We ran the ‘Flyin’ video a few weeks ago and commented on Conte’s vocals and how it was his best performance and as the album unfolds I stand by my initial reaction sure its got some ‘Exile On Mainstreet’ and Faces style to it The delivery is fantastic. It reminds me of Rod Stewarts’ performance of ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ the production values are outstanding with every instrument having its own space to breathe and create what is a wonderful song.

Some musicians have the rare gift of being able to lift ones emotional state with a three-minute pop song and Conte manages that every time I hear ‘Dog Days Of Summer’. It seems such a simple task pick up a guitar throw some chords together get a few equally talented musicians to get together and start jamming then voila! you have a tune. I’m sure it’s not quite as simple as that but that’s how easy these cats make it sound on songs like this. Like a ray of sunshine, I love it.

The flow of this record seems better than previous solo albums maybe its due to the time gifted to sit and let a record mature due to the pandemic there are plenty of flavours on offer and just cutting loose on tracks like ‘Overnight Smash’ next to the slower more reflective ‘Flyin’ is perfect.

‘Those Sexy Lies’ is a song Aerosmith should still be writing but don’t. Then fast forward to the slow-burning ‘Guilty’ which is a real highlight, from the guitar tone to the subtle swirl of the organ or is it the backing vocals that are timeless. Maybe its the lead vocal and response from the girls is majestic as the song builds up to be taken back down is a beautiful thing and as soulful as you could legally get on a record in 2021 Conte must have done a deal with old nick down at those crossroads because this is absolutely class.

Before calling time on ‘Bronx Cheer’ there’s the noo yawk cool of ‘My Degeneration’ before taking us all the way back to where this record began with the single ‘Gimme Gimme Rockaway’ and its youthful party time anthem.

I’m sure the instant gratification of listening to this record over the first few plays is wonderful but as it gets more plays the subtle melodies and guitar breaks jump out that weren’t there on first impression, this stands it in good stead for the longevity of the record and I love that. Its timeless rock and roll baby and easily one of the best records I’ve heard all year right up at the top of the list alongside his fellow bandmate Sami Yaffa – man these cats are some of the most talented musicians around and what a pleasure it is to be able to review their records. Don’t let this one pass you by it’s a freakin belter from start to finish.

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Author: Dom Daley