The Datsuns' UK-only follow-up to their massively successful self-titled album continues in its hard-rocking predecessor's footsteps, referencing '70s metal and glam in a high-octane, un-self-referential mix. The album was produced by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, who knows how to make loud bands sound good. Still, the main shortcoming here is in the songs -- there's nothing to match "Harmonic Generator"'s crazy groove or the hard rock catchiness of "Fink for the Man". "Messin' Around", with its AC/DC grind and hair metal howls, comes the closest, riding a sweat-soaked rhythm to guilty pleasure nirvana. "You Can't Find Me" is probably next, with its Darkness-high woo-oohs, buzzsaw riffs and play-off-worthy shouted heys. The pop-leaning "Girl's Best Friend" is fun, too, though more Nuggets
-ish than you'd expect from Zep-referencing Datsuns. Other songs look good early on, but fade. For instance, the pile-driver riff that kicks off "Hong Kong Fury" is promising, but it's never matched by the song itself. The drums at the start of "That Sure Ain't Right" got me primed for something along the lines of Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz", but despite the big harmonies, the song doesn't really take off.
The worst material bookends the disc: "Blacken My Thumb" is a muddy mess, and the slowed down, blues-aspiring "I Got No Words" bloats painfully as it grinds through more than five minutes.
I wanted to like this album, but even repeated listens couldn't make it gel. As recently as last year it looked like The Datsuns might be next in line to make arena-sized, super-popular rock the way Zeppelin, AC/DC and G'n'R did. They still might, but it's going to take better songs than these.