After a couple of well received singles, including last year’s ‘Poppin’ Eyes and Flashing Feet’ single, Chicago’s Poison Boys have just released their debut album, ‘Out Of My Head’ on Dead Beat Records. WOW! These guys draw inspiration from all the greats, Thunders, New York Dolls, Ramones etc. They also wear these influences proudly on their sleeves, and for older rockers, it’s ultra-cool to see a new lot of torch bearers coming through. Comparisons with the Dead Boys are unavoidable, yet there’s also a fresh flavoured approach these guys apply to their music that’s music to my ears. As the bio reads, “The core spirit of the Poison Boys is the syringe addled sounds of the Heartbreakers, the Dolls and Thunders solo material with echos of fellow guitar-slinging, riff ‘n roll disciples like Hanoi Hanoi Rocks, the Berlin Brats, Dead Boys, Nervous Eaters and the Joneses.”
The album opens in a big way with ‘Out Of My Head’, loud and raucous and a lot like Australia’s own Jet. That’s a good thing folks. The boisterous cover of Larry Williams’ ‘Slow Down’ works extremely well in a 60’s trash/garage way, with a ton of melody and Thunders-esque riffs. I’m pretty sure the Dolls used to cover this during their red commie 74/75 period. Still on the Dolls, the riff-heavy ‘Cut Right Out’ certainly fits the bill, with a tune heavy on the melody and stray cat licks – right down to the harmony vocals. Absolutely love ‘Up To The Sky’ while the full throttled ‘Tear Me Apart’ seeing the band take it up a notch. Again, there’s an abundance of licks and front main Matt Dudzik kicking out the jams. Love it. The more measured yet still real tuneful ‘Desperado’ is highlighted by Buddy Bowzer-like sax on a tune that’s hard to resist. ‘True Romance’ grooves with a capital G with Dudzik channelling equal parts Jagger/Johansen. Another green tick. There’s a faithful cover of the Dead Boys ‘I Won’t Look Back’ that stays pretty true to the original, while ‘Been Here All Night’ swaggers supremely and is a total Hollywood Brats/Dolls trip. Man, the guitars nail that Thunders sound to the letter. Dudzik’s licks are a key ingredient to the Poison Boys sound, and the perfect foil for his vocals.
If you are an old rock fan who says, ‘I’ve heard this type of stuff before – the first time around’, well, keep your self-righteous opinion to yourself and get back to your couch – I for one think that bands like the Poison Boys are breathing new life into the stale, overweight rock ‘n’ roll of today where you either have nostalgia acts, Ed Sheeran or click-track dominant formulae pop. The Poison Boys are a much needed shot in the arm. It’s refreshing to hear the Poison Boys coming through and breaking out to hopefully, bigger and better things. Younger, louder and snottier than most in 2019. 12 tracks all up and all cut the mustard. 9 out of 10. Buy it here