In the internet age it’s good to remember being a music nerd. The one that used to save pocket money and in later years spend wages to rummage around for records by bands you’d never heard of. When we were kids we used to buy cassettes solely based on the fact they had the red Atlantic spine (if it was good enough for Skid Row, we reasoned….).
These days the same experience is hard to find, given that music ceased to be convivial the moment we swapped tape trading for playlists. The record shop owner that knew you, and gave you recommendations has long since gone, but occasionally – when you are lucky enough to have this hobby anyway – you get a label who says: “think you might like this one” and means it.
It happens sometimes with Rum Bar Records over in the US. They sent me the brilliant Duck And Cover album the other week, now they’re responsible for digging out this gem from The Peawees: “think you’ll like this one,” he said.
Nah, don’t be silly. You don’t “like” records this good. You like shit memes on social media – which is yet another reason why Social Media is the death of civilisation – you love records like this. Especially when they’re made by bands who live records like this.
Officially The Peawees are from Italy, and apparently this record came out in 2018. Yeah, ok. The feel of the thing is of mid-west America and a world of diners and hot rod racing. Or, rather, what I would imagine that stuff to be anyway.
What I mean is this: The Peawees are steeped in rock n roll, none of this new-fangled crap in Skinny Jeans and nice hair that shouts at you, either. Look at the front cover of “Moving Target” and it is from another era, it looks like it’s from Greece and John Travolta is trying to get off with Olivia Newton-John.
It sounds like that too. “Walking Through My Hell” is two and a half minutes of music that wants to get laid. It sounds like Elvis Costello is jamming with The Sonics and that sounds cool, right?
There is harmony about The Peawees, something absolutely gleeful. “A Reason Why” is – and I can’t think of a better analogy – the best song Nicke Andersson never wrote. It has his gift for sounding both timeless and catchier than the flu, “Stranger” is the sort of thing that Springsteen chucked away when he was making “The River” and you’d wished he hadn’t, “Christine” reveals a punkier side – but it’s a world away from The Pistols.
“Justify” is halfway through, seemingly because you’d need a slow dance at the disco and the superb organ work is a feature not just here but throughout. For my money, though, “Moving Target” Is at its absolute best when its moving fast. There’s some mighty lead guitar work on “Leave This Place”, which makes it one of the jewels here.
Perhaps the key to the whole record, though, is “Phil Spector” not just the song that bears his name, either, but the feel of track, the feel of the album even, owes much to that classic Wall Of Sound, and this is just perfect.
“The Matter” is another one that rifles through The Hellacopters back pocket for inspiration (the “High Fidelity” stuff, not the million miles an hour first couple) and “Till You Can Sleep” should be enough to make these boys stars rather than just a hip name to drop.
Magnificently, though, it manages to save its best for last. There’s something dirty and bluesy about the finishing song. Not unlike The Diamond Dogs at their best – the only thing is, though, that The Peawees might be liars. The damn thing is called “Till My Mojo Works”. Like they ever struggle for that!
Whatever, we’ll forgive them, because “Moving Target” is half an hour of brilliance.