Does rock need saving. No matter, here’s some frenchman who are going to do it anyway
Whether rock n roll ever disappeared – whatever was meant to happen as a result of grunge never actually did, no matter what conventional wisdom is – and whether it needs to wreak revenge on anything at all, is open to question.
What is crystal clear is the first minute of Carousel Vertigo’s second album renders the debate superfluous anyway. The Def Leppard-esque harmony vocals, the Hammond organ lick and a riff straight out of Keith Richards’ play-book, all happen before you get to the vocals of Vincent Martinez. Like someone mixed Rod Stewart, Paul Rodgers, Steven Tyler and Chris Robinson just for kicks, “No More Hesitatin’” is not just an opening jab, it’s a full-on Anthony Joshua uppercut to the chin.
What was that about rock n roll being dead? Yeah, right.
It’s entirely tempting to end this review right there, because that’s basically the four piece – three Frenchmen and an American – in a nutshell. They know classic 80’s rock, they are totally cool with The Faces and you best believe they look the part too, but they are much, much more.
They are a blues band, boogying like ZZ Top with a piano on the marvellous “Honey Do”, they write slamming hooks like the one on “Jackie Run Run”, and you know those big old ballads Aerosmith used to do? The ones with Liv Tylor and Alicia Silverstone in the videos? Yeah, well “Hideaway” is the modern equivalent.
Then there’s the title track. All loose limbed Black Crowes-isms, and featuring a horn section like Southside Johnny no less. “What’s it to ya? You two-bit loser” goes its first line like it really isn’t interested in your opinion. Neither should it be. It’s got too much else going on.
“Hard Luck Lover” sounds like a King King song and it distils all cool music into four glorious minutes, and just when you thought the collection couldn’t be more fun, along comes “Get It On”. It hits the nail on the head. “Just another soul singer, in a rock n roll band” sings Martinez and the boy isn’t wrong.
“Don’t Take It To Heart” finds the dirt in a harmonica lick, and is The Quireboys spirit of drunken nights captured perfectly, while “Don’t Take It To Heart” finds something soulful to say, as it stretches out over its close on seven minutes. It is mere proof that there isn’t anything CV can’t do.
“Revenge Of Rock N Roll” is their second album and, if you haven’t heard the first one then it doesn’t matter. The second, which ends with the downright funky “I May, I Might” exists, and if you like classic rock, you’re going to love it. Rock n roll ain’t getting revenge here, though. It doesn’t need to. There’s nothing that can come close to rock n roll when it’s done like this. If there is justice Carousel Vertigo are going so stratospheric they’re going to be dizzy.