You want to understand DeRellas?
Just go to the last track on “Something’s Got To Give”. It’s called “Inner City Exit”. It’s a reprise of a song that appears earlier in the album and sees singer Timmy spit: “we are the misfits, we are the punk rockers, we are who we are.”
That’s it, basically. This is unashamed, unapologetic, plus it is pretty much what happens if the Pistols had jammed on some Dead Boys songs with the New York Dolls.
Look at the cover, man! It’s a dayglo explosion of colour. Leopard Skin and Safety Pins isn’t just the title of a Backyard Babies record, nope. Not here. Here it’s a way of life.
Save yourself some time. Listen to “Don’t Tell Me What I Did Last Night”, the chugging, lip-curling, glue sniffing sleaze that opens this. Wait for the bit where your boy Timmy gets to the “I woke up with a cocaine kiss” and if this ain’t for you, then The DeRellas ain’t fussed. It’s for them.
Riffs, baby. This thing got them. “Underground LUV” is happy as you like to do power pop, but only if power pop was wrapped in razor blades, and luv, to be honest, seems like its not uppermost in the thoughts.
Best of the lot though? Well that’s easy. “Emergency 2020” which takes the riff from “Bohemian Like You”, adds a piano lick and imagines a reality where LA Guns were the biggest thing in the world. Truly phenomenal. This is mastery of the craft.
Rock n roll should sound filthy. It should be dirty, and “Inner City Rock N Roller” is, “Life’s Crashing” gets bonus points because it sounds pretty much exactly like Dog’s D’Amour and if “Pressure’s Gonna Get Ya” sounds darker and more violent, then it gets its nihilism bang on point.
There’s a real suspicion that if The DeRellas weren’t in a band, then they’d be happily watching a band that sounded like this. They are fans. “Sonic Detonator” lays into social media, which is always fun, and “Soho Motel” doesn’t sound like the sort of place I’d like to be caught in, while “Our World Tomorrow” is a touch more mid-paced. It probably passes for a ballad around these parts.
Largely though, this is about Luca’s guitar, he’s obviously the sort of lead man that plays his instrument down by his knees, lo-slung is his thing. You know it, “Sweet Fatal Attraction” only exists on those terms, no others, while “Highrise Supersize” is for all the people that understand the difference between The Rainbow and The Cathouse in the 1980s. These boys would have been in the latter.
A word, too for punk legend Pat Collier, once of The Vibrators who produces here. He’s done a phenomenal job, he might say the songs had made it easy, though.
The other day I read something that said it was 34 years since “Appetite for Destruction” had come out and tried to hypothesise it wasn’t very good in hindsight. My answer to that was that, if you were my age when it came out, it was the most dangerous thing we’d heard. I was 12 in the autumn of 87, we didn’t have punk. We had nothing to sound like it was the soundtrack to prove anything goes.
Just occasionally music can still elicit that primal urge, and “Something’s Got To Give” is one of those moments. Pure sleaze, and purely brilliant.