77 – High Decibels

If you come across any other reviews of Spanish hard rock band 77 you would have read they more than carry an air and sound heavily influenced and taken from AC/DC. No argument from us at the RR regarding that, which is hard luck on the band as this style of music and their influences do not offer anything to ignite sparks or to go deeper than just the ear here. It has to be said though that High Decibels, the second album from 77 is an easily accessible and engaging release. It comes with no pretence or aspirations to be anything it is not, it just bursts with an eagerness to bring straight honest heavy rock n roll.

Released February 28th via Listenable Records the album is rich in 70s heavy metal with other touches of earlier rock. It is also low in originality but the band more than make up for that with strong tracks that take the better elements of the genre and sound and restyle them to their own compositions. Recorded with of Nicke Andersson (Imperial State Electric and ex-Nihilist, Entombed, and Hellacopters), High Decibels is an accomplished follow up to their debut album 21st Century Rock, and though It does not venture away from its predecessors sound or the influences that inspire the band it does have a better rounded feel.

The brothers Valeta lead the band with their creative but unfussy guitars; LG Valeta is never over indulgent in his solos and Armand backs up his brother perfectly with power and controlled play. Armand also continues his vocal delivery with a Bon Scott styling that goes beyond a mere impression adding to the overall homage of sound. Completed by the excellent bass play of Mr. Raw and the controlled but energetic drums of Johnnie Dolphin, 77 know how to create music and songs that grab hold and lead one into a world of solid and satisfying rock music.

The album is highly consistent with tracks like the opening title track, the energetic Are You Ready For Rock n Roll, and the chunky riff pleasure of Lets Beat It Up making the album more than worth a listen even if like us this is not music that one finds enthusiasm for. There are two central tracks within the album that ensures the release should be looked at. The first Backdoor Man has a neat blues vein pulsating through it and guitars that tease and beckon the ear wonderfully. Again the bass of Raw is a delight, his rhythms moody and provoking without demanding centre stage. The second of the songs is Gimme A Dollar and it is a gem, the one song that shone brightest of all. The fact that it has a hook and riff straight out of Buddy Hollys Not Fade Away does it no harm at all. It offers much more than that though and is a nice blend of rock n roll, blues and hard rock. If all tracks were like this they may have a convert on their hands.

Songs like This Girl Is On Fire and Meltin In A Spoon keep up the overall standard and AC/DC tribute, which is what it feels like at times, though the band do try to bring something new as with their mini epic Promised Land. It does not quite come off but is still a fine and interesting track with striking riffs and ideas.

One cannot fail to see hard rock and especially classic hard rock fans loving this and so they should. It has everything to excite their ears and beyond, but for us where the genre has no haven it is fighting a lost battle. To be honest High Decibels was enjoyable and if it was playing there would be no rush to turn it off for sure. The album will definitely also find favour with fans of their obvious idols, 77 making an album and music that is respectful and inspired by love of what AC/DC always do best.

RingMaster 16/02/2012

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