There’s something about “The New Roaring Twenties” that is just pure. The thought that it is living for pleasure alone – not for nothing is the first song called “It’s For Fun (That’s All We’re Living For)”/ – and you find yourself thinking: “what was the first rock n roll thing I came into contact with”, or at least I did, anyway.
Now, whether Rock N Roll is best thought about like Motorhead, AC/DC, The Stones, Thin Lizzy, when I was a six year old kid who hadn’t heard of them, but knew he loved “Centerfold” by the J Geils Band, what was the reason? The best I could do was “Grease”. Watching that film with my parents, where everyone just seemed cool, it is exactly the same vibe on these 11 songs.
“Lets go to Detroit. Now, you’re talking, brother,” are the words that start this album, and it isn’t even hiding that The Forty Nineteens are in the thrall of Garage Rock, like a Leather Clad Sonics, basically, this has riffs, will travel as it were.
“Tell Me” adds a kind of primal urgency – largely built around Nick Ziegler’s drums, but its “Late Night Radio” with its Elvis Costello lip-curl that most struck a chord. See, that six year old kid who loved rock n roll, used to cue up his old Dansette record player and pretend he was a DJ. I used to lie in bed a couple of years later listening to the radio my grandparents bought me, Radio Luxembourg, John Peel, without ever having a clue, or Tommy Vance a little later as I became obsessed with rock. This song feels like its for the dreamers.
“We’re Going To Vegas” isn’t hiding its love for, or debt to The King, while “Go Little GTO” might be the best example of what TFN do. An idealised, stylised rock n roll, the greasers, the mods, the rockers, and singer John is enjoying himself more than any man has a right to.
A favourite of Little Steven’s radio show, there’s a cleverness about the storytelling on “Time Marches On” that is worthy of Stevie VZ himself, and power pop isn’t about to get better anywhere than the fabulous “You’ve Got Stardust Eyes”.
29 minutes of solid gold and the best thing about it, in honesty, is that it never tries to reinvent the wheel. Why would it? The wheel works. That said, there’s an energy and freshness about “I’m Always Questioning Days” that suggests it could be on some disc three of “The River” in some parallel universe, and “The Worst Thing I Could Do” taps into some Tom Petty waters, and it is magnificent.
“You’re The Kind Of Girl” is, if not heavy, then harder edged, with the solo screeching a little more – although, there are three guitarists here so they should trade licks. “We Can’t Change” isn’t quite a ballad, but it slows down a touch, before bursting through like a 70s radio rocker from the very, very top draw.
The key to all this is perhaps in the band name. A 4019 credit is time off the sentence of a detainee who behaves in jail. That’s not to say these are convicts, rather that John and Chuck (vocals and guitar, and guitar respectively) are Criminal Defence Attorneys’. They do have a garage rock past, but these days they don’t do this because they have to, they do it because they need to, and that’s a key point. The love for the music and the fun of the band in playing it, is all important here and makes “The New Roaring Twenties” an absolute gem.