There’s a series of Bon Jovi documentaries on Disney at the moment. I am watching them in my spare hours. Bon Jovi were my first love, really. Along with ZZ Top. If I hadn’t heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” in 1986, it’s highly likely there’d be no MV and I wouldn’t have spent the last 40 years obsessing about music.

But I am “just” a fan. I’ve no musical talent whatsoever. You tend not to consider that being in a big band isn’t always ace (although, back to Jovi, there was a film 30 years ago that they made about the New Jersey Tour where they looked royally pissed off)

Which brings us to Lowlives. Lee Downer and Luke Johnson, two Brits living in LA, were disillusioned with the music business (Downer had been frontman in The Defiled, Johnson the drummer in all kinds of bands including on Amen – I’d liked and seen both live so offer no comment) but needed to rediscover their fire, the same childlike love of music everyone reading this have all got deep down.

Enter “Freaking Out”. 10 songs that had been knocking around for ages, but are now seeing the light on Spinefarm records.

Let’s finally get down to brass tacks, shall we? The thing is utterly glorious from the minute it bursts out of the blocks with its title track, it is wonderful. Reminiscent of the James And The Cold Gun record I was mad for a year or so ago: “This is how I see myself” goes the chorus and maybe they’re finally able to present themselves fully?

It’s unlikely, if you have a pulse and/or like Dinosaur Pile-up that you’ll resist “Liar” and its hook. But listen to it closer and it’s catharsis you can hear.

And you can hear catharsis everywhere. Guitarist Jaxon Moore can riff with the best of them and “Getting High On Being Low” doesn’t let up.

Nothing does. Even when it slows down, like on “Swan Dive”. Now, I’ve been pretty careful so far to avoid the lazy grunge comparisons (largely because I am not the biggest Nirvana fan in the world) but I adore AIC, and fans of them should get here.

You can compare Lowlives to who you please, mind you (and I suspect that the band would be cool with it) and still come back to the fact that for all the influences “Loser” fills massive venues given half the chance (and Feeder have with stuff that used to sound like this).

Wherever you look there’s something fantastic. “You Don’t Care”, fizzes along, “Out Of Step” slams its way through the door, with a bit of punk and a lot of Stone Temple Pilots’ early intent, and whatever happens on “…Out”, the more ballad-like “Closer Than You Know”, or the brilliant “Damien” – about a lad that disappeared on the Isle Of Wight -then “intent” is the common thread. This means every word.

The acoustic closer “Vertigo” gives an insight into other things that might be coming from the band – a “Something In The Way” moment, if you will. And this time it feels like they’ve all found a home.

I’ve been rather freaking out about how good “Freaking Out” was since I heard it last week, and I’ve been considering how to end this properly (I know it might look like a load of half-arsed references to other bands, but I do care about these reviews), and it’s like this: Bollocks to hyperbole and I am not doing this for clickbait. This is the best debut album in years – probably since Those Damn Crows similarly made me remember why I love hearing new music in the middle of the last decade.

Rating 10/10

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