I sometimes wish I didn’t read my old reviews when I review a band’s new stuff.
“Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” being a case in point. It is, a sort of follow up to the “Figure It Out” EP, with which Nuneaton’s finest announced themselves a couple of years ago, I had my mental notes sorted to go on the page. Tax The Heat, they were going to get a mention, because they have the same flavour, a kind of “classic rock with a modern roll” as TTH’s press releases used to put it.
Then there’s “Joker”, where I was going to say there’s a real Audioslave riff. But, and I won’t preach to you, here’s a caution (sorry, I couldn’t resist it!) I’d said all that before. Which, if nothing else proves I am consistent, I guess.
However, if that was then, it’s still now, too, because from the second “Sermon” starts, and the Rev Boots Electric (better known to me and you as Jesse Hughes from Eagles Of Death Metal) proclaims he does not want to be threatened with a good time, this is a statement of intent.
“Road Runner” thunders. It’s a white knuckle ride that never goes “beep, beep” as it were. It never needs you to get out of its way, is why, you just clear a path for it. It’s that simple.
Dig Lazarus are heavier than you think, they are going to be too. It struck me the one time I saw them live (just before the first lockdown with Massive Wagons at the top of a mighty bill) and if you listen to “Never Change” it becomes clear as day.
Thing is, I suppose, with Dave Draper at the helm (the guardian of The Wildhearts sound no less) there’s always going to be sonic excellence. “Tell Me Why” is a highlight, precisely because of its peaks and troughs.
Ash Tustain, singer and guitarist, is perhaps the reason this is slightly off-kilter. He plays riffs that are just a bit different. “Satisfied” is maybe the best example of what they do. It’s rock n roll, but it exists on its own terms, and that’s before “Dexter” goes almost punk rock.
There’s something about a three piece band that is always well-balanced and this one is no different. The title track is built around the bass of Atticus Hall-McNair and the drums of Jack Cotterill as much as anything, and the harmonies here are fun.
More than anything, though, these are just fantastic examples of modern hard rock, “Feel”, chugs along with real intent, and “Keep It Clean” kicks off with a cowbell filled intro that hasn’t been heard since Dangerous Toys in about 1989 (and probably only remembered by me), while “Sky Tonight” is possibly yet more evidence of the unending reach of the Foo Fighters.
With a name like “Outlaw” it is was always likely that this would go down some Southern path, but in typical Dig Lazarus fashion it almost does, but not quite, and while there’s a blues element to the acoustic tinges of “Time Froze” the real story is who guests when it explodes. Ali Dickaty of Virginmarys. There’s a lot of similarities in the two acts. Not least of which is the small town frustration. The Virginmarys are from Macclesfield, in Manchester’s hinterland, likewise, Nuneaton, which is home to Dig Lazarus is sort of between Coventry and Leicester, with Birmingham looming too. Somehow it makes for interesting music that doesn’t fit in with any scene, particularly, and would be a spiky customer wherever it went.
“Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” palpably is just that, but its more besides and as Dig Lazarus dig deeper, there’s even more to come you feel.