Eddie and the Hot Rods men have some fun – and don’t sound like you’d think

Like so much in this reviewers record loving life, you can blame The Almighty.

Not a higher being you understand, but the Scottish biker rock band. To take you back 20 odd years to a single they released with a song called “Do Anything You Wanna Do” on the b-side.

This was before the internet, and all MVM – who had just started a mind-numbingly boring job – knew was that first, the opening line spoke volumes: “gonna break out of this city, leave the people here behind” and second, the song ruled.

That was 1994, now in 2016, we still live in the city, have another mind numbingly boing job, but at least we’ve seen Eddie And The Hot Rods a couple of times, which brings us neatly to this. Headline Maniac, y’see are a trio of latter day Hot Rods and this is what they do for fun.

And, from the off, that’s all this is – and moreover all it wants to be.

Interestingly although “Ian “Dipster” Dean (vocals/bass) originally presented these songs as a contemporary EATHR record, this is coming at things from less a Thames Delta punk place than you might imagine, instead, this collection wouldn’t have been amiss at the height of the Three Colours Red, Honeycrack or Senseless Things era of the mid to late 1990s.

Classic, ebullient sounding rock n roll abounds – and good Lord, they know how to write a hook that sticks in your head. That much is crystal clear from the moment “Idiot Me” hits, and “One More Chance” isn’t far behind.

“Someone Like You” has a real groove, and the mid-paced “Hero” is the simplest of love songs, with the purest of intentions, and Feeder would have killed for it 15 years back, while “Millionaire” is more of the same.

Guitarist Chris Taylor – apparently a huge Thin Lizzy fan – brings some real rock sensibilities to things, and the opening to “You’re The One For Me” stomps around like it really wants to be “Foxy Lady”, while “I Want All Your Love” struts around like it wants a drunken snog come closing time.

Nothing here outstays its welcome, songs don’t need to be over four minutes to be great, after all. “Never Get Enough” is full of fun, while “14 Days” is almost perfect shimmering, sunny pop rock – and probably the highlight here, and if “I’m Bad (Rotten To The Core)” clenches its teeth a little more, these guys aren’t really going to do snarling punk anytime soon – although drummer Simon Bowley (nephew of original Hot Rods drummer Steve Nicol) gives his kit a fair old bang.

Ending with “Get Away” – the longest song on offer at a tick over five minutes – seems to hint that Headline Manic are here to stay, with its classy harmonies  and soaring solo the work of men who know what exactly they are doing and achieved all their aims.

No one here is re-inventing any wheels, but refreshingly no one is pretending they are either, instead this is fun and made because they could, and even if it might not make the headlines, you’d be mad to miss it.

Rating 8/10

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