Sweden’s finest purveyors of honky tonk flavoured rock n’ roll return with a new long player, just over 18 months after the luscious double album offering ‘Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous’ hit the shelves.
It seems nothing can keep Sulo and the boys from delivering good time rock n’ roll like the last 6 decades of musical innovation never happened. The Faces meets The Stones is a good rut to be stuck in and we wouldn’t want it any other way, not when the songs are this good.
Written and recorded over an 8-day period and recorded in old school analogue, ‘About The Hardest Nut To Crack’ sees the Swedish band in fine form from the word go.
12 bar boogie blues is the name of the game with opener ‘Get A Rock n Roll Record’ and the message is as simple as the three-chord progression it rides on.
Next up ‘Blight The Life’ is one of those life affirming, instantly familiar Sulo melodies. You’ve know you’ve heard it before, but you’re not quite sure where. Was it Rod, Jagger or Monroe? Who knows, or even cares as a mournful fiddle leads us down an emotive road, one we love to frequent again and again.
The low-slung rock n’ roll of ‘Wring It Out’ has plenty of Faces swagger and it’s a raucous party that Sulo and the boys are jamming, with gospel-tinged backing vocals, stabs of keys and a certain boogie-woogie swagger.
There are earworms aplenty on offer. The likes of ‘Gurus and Gangsters’ and ‘Desiree, Yet Another Lonely Mile’ are pure euphoric nostalgia, and about as 70’s as listening to the top 40 run down whilst scoffing a Sunday roast. Songs that groove in a certain way and insist you turn up that dial and dance like no one is watching.
Sulo’s reflective lyricism recalls the good times and the tight musicianship but loose delivery backs it all up in just the right way. The banjo action on ‘Old Timer’ gives a rustic, partisan feel that sits well with the low-slung guitars and gravelly vocals. The sloppy, but perfectly delivered solo as worn and weathered as the vintage gear it is played on.
The glam slam, foot-stomping closer ‘Rising From The Ruins Of Rock n Roll’ sees the band sign off by telling us to spin them records one more time and not to forget the reason they (and we) do this thing they call rock n’ roll anyway.
A new Diamond Dogs record is always cause for a celebration, and ‘The Hardest Nut To Crack’ does exactly what you would expect. Naysayers may argue that Sulo and the boys are doing nothing new and shock horror, may even be classed as ‘generic’, but you know what? Sometimes I want something familiar, something that doesn’t stray from the path and delivers exactly what I expect it to, and the Diamond Dogs do it every time. Get this rock n’ roll record, play it loud and spread the word.
Author: Ben Hughes