Some people need to listen to an album multiple times to see if they even like it, never mind digest it properly.

I am not like that. Often I can tell you in about 12 seconds whether I am going to love the thing.

“The Last Of The One And Only’s” wasn’t so much one of those, as opposed to being so good that after 12 seconds of “Pretty Good At Being Bad” I was ready to move to Seattle to watch them, hand them the keys to my car (although I am not sure a Honda Civic is rock n roll enough for them!) and my PIN number.

See, there’s a bit where they plug in and the groove hits. The lowest slung, dirtiest groove you ever did hear, and you know. I am actually prepared to bet that if you don’t love them after that first intro, you aren’t going to love the next half an hour either.

But The Swaggerlies, they don’t care. They are too busy making a chorus out of the words “time bomb. Laugh track” to be interested what you think.

This is laughter born out of tragedy though. The band was originally formed by Earl Thunders of Guns Of Nevada and Ron “Rontrose” Heathman who was a Supersucker. Ron died last year. The band though, decided to honour him with these songs. “Captain” Ron Stohr was drafted in to Heathman’s leads and I am willing to bet that the great man would be proud.

There’s a genuine brilliance in these songs. “Disco Cocaine” is as good as it gets. “Lets get our cliches rearranged” thunders, er, Thunders here and its as catchy as it gets.

“Mannequin Bones” adds a bit of punk to things, but an insight, perhaps, into the ethos of the record comes in the title track. A little like the aforementioned Supersuckers (or perhaps more accurately Jason And The Scorchers given the vibe) it slips into country and namechecks some of the greats that are no longer with us, songs from Bowie, Lemmy and Gram Parsons are all here, but there’s one line above all others.  They are all, opines Thunders, “looking for that lonely truth that only music has”.

This record doesn’t get made without it.

They know how to party, though as the stomping, quasi-Clash of “Drunk In London” proves, while the instrumental “The March Of The Swaggerlies” highlights the skill of the band, completed by bass player Jeromy Leonard  and drummer Rob Olsen. They lock into something special here.

“N.F.I.O.S” (which stands for No Friends In Outer Space”) adds a bit of Hawkwind style trippiness for a bit, before deciding that chugging punk suits them better, and the feeling that this is just a heartbeat away from being a Motorhead record is underlined by “Outrage”. Although as I always say if you are doing rock n roll without a bit of Motorhead in your sound, you’re doing it wrong.

It ends on a tender, heartfelt note too. “Letter To A Friend (Hope You Got Free)” whoever it’s for, is done with a real emotion, and there’s a million Americana bands who would kill to do this and do it this well.

Calling The Swaggerlies “rootsy punk n roll” doesn’t seem to cut it, not really. They are better than that and if this is the start of their journey as a band then it will be interesting to see where it goes. “The Last Of The One And Only’s” is a brilliant start, though, that’s for sure. Consider me an Onlys fan, or something, and that’s no lies.

Rating 9.5/10

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