If there is a fiercer more contagious slab of rock ‘n’ roll around right now than Come On! it is sure to be a major triumph as the second album from UK punks Loaded 44 is one mighty stomp. From a strong but arguably unremarkable start it turns into a ridiculously addictive and riotous brawl. It does not take long for the transition to happen either, just a couple of songs, but when the release kicks up a gear bliss and exhaustion is its legacy.
Hailing from the North East, Loaded 44 began in 1996 stirring up the local scene before working on a broader attention and wave of eager appetites for their “ass-shakin’ punk rock”. The band’s live reputation is second to none whilst first album Wasted On You, released in 2011 on STP Records like its successor, established the band as one of the UK’s finest musically voracious punk bands. Now the quartet of vocalist Beki (Steve Ignorant, Chaos 8), guitarist Dave, bassist Steve and drummer Nelly (both Hi-Fi Spitfires and The Lurkers), have upped the ante and created a new tempest of attitude and aggressive infectiousness in Come On!, an album to rage at the world with and lose your inhibitions to.
As mentioned the album did not bowl as over initially though it had attention and appetite gripped and eager through the first pair of songs. Breakdown hits first and from a single riff erupts in a blaze of jabbing beats and aggressive chords. Once Beki unveils her distinctive tones, the track is a richly satisfying slice of rock ‘n’ roll for thoughts to swiftly align to. What it does not have is the spark to ignite anything more than calm but thorough enjoyment. Nevertheless it is a potent start straight away matched by the rhythmically agitated Something For Nothing. A throaty bassline instantly grips whilst the vocals of Beki have a great Poly Styrene edge to them as the rumbling beats of Nelly add richer anthemic bait. Again though, it strongly pleases without sparking big excitement, though that all changes from hereon in.
Paper Heart steps up next with a heavy tempest of beats and riffs on its first breath, a stormy presence soon veined by group harmonies and the combative tones of Beki. They in turn seem to inspire greater attitude and menace in the other parts of the song, the result a forceful romp with a volatile air veined by incendiary flames of rock guitar. Finishing on an inescapable anthemic roar the song makes way for Generation Idiot and yet another gear and plateau is found. Vocals lure from the first second, swiftly backed by addictive hooks and dirty riffs. The song is soon ablaze with pop punk devilry and energy, but this is no lightweight Green Day like tempting, but a fiery and predatory incitement of power punk.
The class ‘A’ addiction of Give It Up strides in next, a track with a chorus taking barely seconds to be seduced by, roared along with, and deeply wormed in the psyche. The repetitive spine of the song through bass and riffs, has all the hallmarks of an understandable influence of The Lurkers and works like a magnet as melodies and hooks flare up with virulent catchiness around it. The track screams single but then again most of the songs from the album have that declaration as proved by Over And Out next. A bigger bruising encounter than its predecessor, the track equally has that infectious temptation and enterprise to it. Vocally Beki reveals a touch of the Fay Fifes whilst the guitars and bass collude to create a straight forward yet perpetually spicy confrontation punctuated by the scything swings of Nelly’s sticks.
Aggression and intensity only gets harder and more imposing in Step Back In Time but so does the band’s ability to create catchy provocations. Hooks simply seduce as rhythms and riffs badger rigorously, whilst vocally the band and Beki singularly, whip up an anthemic storm from which escape is impossible, a success emulated in Only Ones within seconds. Like a dirtier punk version of The Rezillos, the track is a rampant persuasion of rock temptation. Both tracks have you thinking rock ‘n’ roll does not get much better than this but oh it does as shown by the outstanding Shake It Up. Opening with a classic rock spicing within its punk coaxing, and with a great whiff of The Duel to its early melodic and harmonic resonance, the song twists around to unleash a chorus which simply sends a tingle down the spine as body and emotions succumb to its epidemic lures. It is one of those moments you know music is primarily there to breed, an all-consuming treat which only grows stronger and hungrier as the band get even more adventurous within the brilliant encounter.
The album is brought to a thrilling close by It`s Not About You first of all, a raucous punk ‘n’ roll exploit with drama to its riffs and delicious bassline. Voices and beats cast a riveting and bracing proposal as ears and the passions are set ablaze once again, then left on a high at the song’s departure, subsequently and fed further intensive pleasure by the closing Love Myself To Death. A more standard rock punk bellow but giving the album one final exciting moment, the track just puts the final layer of icing on a modern punk classic.
You may come up against many albums which might rival Come On! as a bulging package of rock ‘n’ roll anthems but there will be few to surpass it, if any. Loaded 44 produce punk rock at its best and an example of why the genre and state of mind will never die.
Come On! is available now on CD via S.T.P. Records @ http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htm and digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/come-on!/id982345664
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