The history of rock & roll is punctuated by major bands whose names are nouns preceded by the definite article. The Crickets, the Coasters, the Beatles, the Stones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Bangles, the Go-Gos; the list continues ad infinitum. The members of the latest round of rock revivalists -- from the Strokes to the White Stripes, from the Hives to the Vines -- are all aware of this tradition. We could come up with some grandiose theory about how the declarative nature of group identity reflects the immediacy of the musical intensity. Or we could just assume that a lot of rock & roll bands think these names sound cool.
New Zealand's latest revivalists, the Datsuns, are all about sounding cool. To them, sounding cool means sounding urgent, horny, needy and addicted to speed. The sound of the Datsuns is hardly original -- take the hard-rock riff-a-rama of Deep Purple, Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper and rev it up with some protopunk flamboyance, à la the Stooges or the Dead Boys -- but they've arguably nailed its spirit better than any of their contemporaries thus far, delivering the requisite bone-crunching guitar riffs, searing guitar solos and howling vocals. There is no peace, no tenderness, in this music. This is the stirring and beautiful sound of rock & roll returning once again to its youthful indiscretions.
Don't miss opening act the Sights, another revival band -- but one that's more indebted to the songcraft of late-'60s post-garage-psychedelic rock & roll.