Within about three seconds of “The Day I Lost My Head” you find yourself nodding yours.
It’s one of those involuntary things that beardy blokes throughout the world do when the riff kicks in, and brother, you’d best believe that the power of the riff is what powers this.
Big, thick ones too, and the solo is just greasy enough to appeal to anyone who has ever listened to a recent Orange Goblin record.
The nine slabs of rock here – you hesitate to call the work on Beggars fifth album “songs”, because largely there’s a few vocals here and there just to remind you that Yannis Passas is a singer as well as what is a brilliant guitarist – know exactly what they want to be. There is no doubt that the title track has heard a few Motorhead tunes, but then shouldn’t all great rock n roll have the spirit of Lemmy somewhere in it? …..“Chief Commander 1945-2015” comes later on in the album and is clearly an homage to the great man (“oh Chief Commander, we’ll raise your soul….”) This is – as they put it themselves – a “trip down the Devil’s highway” – and it’s doubtful that they’ll be home in time for tea.
As if to emphasise the idea that they are about the feel and sound, “Intersolar Traveller” is an instrumental, while “Game” with it heavy bass groove dominating all before it and crushing everything in its path, doesn’t need the sloganeering vocals it has to make it ace, they take it to the next level, though.
There is a feeling throughout “….Head” that Beggars don’t particularly care what any other band does, something as colossal as “Medusa” doesn’t get made if you listen to trends, but it underlines their ambition and no mistake.
Many of the songs here have an epic feel, and it is credit to the three-piece that they manage to do this – and some of these do take a real wander – without ever overstaying their welcome.
Some of them, to be totally honest, would be better without lyrics: as a slogan: “I’m coming to get you, so fuck you” is hardly up there with “I hope I die before I get old” – but nevertheless, that’s what “Blind” deals in, and “You Break Me” has a nursery rhyme like quality, in amongst its fuzzy guitar (“you’re crazy, your mama calls you Daisy….” is beautifully simple).
Fittingly, things end in the way they began, and indeed have been throughout, with a masterclass in guitar tone. “Genesis” is the closest things get to a ballad here, and there is a cracked quality to it, but goodness, its mighty and like all three pieces it seems Beggars have created something greater than the sum of their parts here.
There’s time for one last lead too, and another head nod. That’s what Beggars do.