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Bloody Hollies: Who to Trust, Who to Kill, Who to Love

Reviewed By: Paul Raven
Label: Alive Records
Format: CD

The Bloody Hollies are peddling a sleazy high-octane brand of gutter-punk rock'n'roll – the sort of thing you'd not want your younger sister to be listening to, but that might quite tempt you yourself. Their songs are based around simple stop-start structures, making clever use of drop-outs and pregnant pauses, driven by snappy percussion, brimming with fuzzy chugging chords and wah-wah lead lines. The most obvious touchstone reference would be the Hives, although there's a whole scene full of Scandinavian rock'n'roll bands ploughing this vast (and surprisingly fertile) field.

Sensibly, the Hollies bring their own unique selling point to the party, adding a tiny tinge of rockabilly B-movie horror, and a slightly camp theatrical vocal style that harks back to the hot-rod glory days of old. The sound is curiously large and spacious for a three piece, and you find yourself wondering how so little seems to add up to so much – which is usually a mark of crafty musicianship and song-writing, at least in my book.

'Who to Trust...' is a whiskey-and-cigarettes album, its energy amplified by the simplicity of the material, allowing the performance and commitment to shine through. It's surprisingly listenable, almost pop-song catchy at times, and it's a shame that they're probably a year or so too late to catch the wave that would suit them best. Nonetheless, there's always a sweaty little venue somewhere where the people like to get their rock on – if the Bloody Hollies can reproduce the zing of these songs on stage, they'll never be short of gigs while they still want to play them. In the meantime, you could do far worse than listening to this album while you're getting ready for a night on the town – as long as you don't mind slinking out of the house with a wicked glint in your eyes.



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