Previously only available on Record Store Day on vinyl, “The Concrete Jangle” is now getting the worldwide release it deserves.

A special release for Steve Conte, given that half of it was co-written with XTC’s Andy Partridge, and the opening five all have the trademark melodies you’d imagine.

“4th Of July” does its power pop with a jangle, “Hey Hey Hey (Aren’t You The One)” offers a classic rock ‘n’ roll boogie with a twist, and to complete the first three, somewhere Andy Scott is trying to work out how he missed “We Like It” for Sweet.

The hooks everywhere you look on “The Concrete Jungle” are classy. “Shoot Out The Stars” is as timeless as you can believe—that is to say, it could have come out at any time since power pop was conceived of and fitted in.

The last of the “Partridge songs,” as it were, is “One Last Bell,” which adds both a slower vibe and liberal (but cleverly used) trumpets.

That one effectively acts as a bridge to the second side—the ones Conte penned alone—and “Motor City Love Machine” has a horn section as well as rock ‘n’ roll on its mind.

The record comes out on Steve Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool label, and I always feel that he and everyone who puts records out on it understands rock and roll in its absolute purest form. As a direct lineage from when Elvis sang “That’s Alright Mama,” “All Tied Up” proves my point—the sort of thing that Tom Petty did for fun—and if “Decomposing A Song For You” doesn’t bother to hide its love of late-period The Beatles if they were in the prohibition era at a juke joint, then no one’s bothered.

It’s as if Conte has dipped into his record collection for some inspiration here; there’s that feel across all of them, not least “Girl With No Name.” The type of track—as they all are—that’ll have you looking to see if it was a cover.  Certainly, Liam Gallagher filled an arena a couple of weeks ago with the type of thing that is flavoring “I Dream Her.” And “dream” is an apt word for this entire collection as it seems some are being realised right here.

You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby, and you won’t want to leave.

Rating: 9/10

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