Remember The Datsuns? If you’re going to remember anything it’s their debut hard-hitting self-titled album back in the early noughties – a mix of hard rock and good times that helped the album rocket skywards. Since then they’ve been plugging away and churning out records without managing to recreate as much success as earlier days, but seemingly content to continue to do what they love anyway. A lot of bands would have given up, but The Datsuns have toiled on through thick and thin, and so in 2014 we are treated to new album Deep Sleep – but does it manage to recreate the thrill of earlier work, or is it just middle of the road rock?
The record feels as though the band have just woken up from hibernation. Again the time is ripe where the music industry has become a bit bland, so The Datsuns provide here the perfect opportunity to rock out with some big fuzz, big solos and heavy sounds. Opener Caught The Silver’s psychedelic and futuristic intro works perfectly with the Bowie-esque vocals, then blows up in your face with a loud explosion of 70s metal, welcoming you to the record. Bad Taste and its killer riffs entice the listener into a guitar frenzy, and with lead singer Rudolf de Borst almost playing on a faux British accent, it adds another level of mystique to proceedings.
In areas however, the borrowing from the 70s sound can start to sound a little too much like a tribute to the era. 500 Eyes starts to feel like something fictional band Spinal Tap could have written and you find yourself waiting for the vocals to mention ‘Stone-enge’ in a cockney accent. That’s what you get is Led Zeppelin without the bite, too much concerned with the sound of others rather than focusing on their own.
The band does manage to steer back to some form later in the album with Looking Glass Lies and its fast paced fun and enthusiasm, and Creature of the Week is Deep Sleep’s answer to earlier single Harmonic Generator, albeit a better chorus of melodic genius.
Deep Sleep is an album of fine lines; sometimes it crosses them too far and it becomes a parody of 70s rock, whereas in other areas it hits exactly where it should do with rifftastic, bombastic sounds. The time is ripe for The Datsuns return to the mainstream, and with a little reworking this could have been huge. As it stands it’s a good effort but a little too reliant on its love of others.