Head Cat – [Album]

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Over the last few years, Motorhead singer/bassist Lemmy Kilmister has seemed to have held a vested interest in playing against his image as a black leather-clad, snarling, hard-rocking beast and showing a lighter, campier and loveable side. Making cameo appearances in videos for Danko Jones (in Full Of Regret – alongside Elijah Wood and Selma Blair no less), Airbourne (in the video for “Runnin' Wild”) and as the limo driver in Foo Fighters' “White Limo” video all went a surprisingly long way to lightening Kilmister's image, but the deciding blow may be the return of Kilmister's on-again-off-again rockabilly project, Head Cat. Once again back with Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom and Lonesome Spurs bassist Danny B. Harvey (guitar duties are split between Lemmy and Harvey on this album) for the first time in five years, the band's new album, Walk The Walk… Talk The Talk, may be the different angle that the sorely typecast bassist needs to prove to the world that he isn't just a cardboard cutout.

As prepared as listeners might think they are for a change of pace from Kilmister, they'll still get knocked on their collective ass as “American Beat” rolls out like a cherry '56 Chrysler 300B to open Walk The Walk… Talk The Talk. Right from the get-go, Head Cat is all smooth lines and fresh paint, as if the band has been perfectly restored with love and care; there's not a mark on it as Kilmister growls life into the engine and Phantom and Harvey tune it for speed. As shocked as Motorhead fans might be to hear such a light hand on the wheel from Kilmister, they'll find themselves happily ready for the ride even before the band blows everything off the line at the solo break in “American Beat.” This is not a sound made to be ironic or contrived, this is the sound of one hundred percent fun and not one member of the band can hide it – nor do they want to.

From there, Head Cat doesn't touch the brakes even once as they mow through songs like “Say Mama,” “I Ain't Never” (which is just about as close to a soul workout as anyone could ever have expected Lemmy to get), “Something Else” (which takes the prize as the best cover of an Eddie Cochran ever recorded) and “Let It Rock” with teeth always showing, but framed in grins from ear-to-ear. The serrated guitars in each each song carve new patterns into the rockabilly fabric with which the band works, but the band member have the sense and discipline to not try and update the sound or rockabilly basics too dramatically; being mindful not to rupture the image they're working in. As careful as they are though, that doesn't mean they aren't a little rambunctious too – Kilmister's voice is still as rough and raspy as ever, but also more spry than it's been in years and there's something in them which implies that he might be giggling to himself between verses; he's having a riotously good time, and it shows. That manner proves to be catching too as listeners will end up doing the exact same thing, upon repeated listens.

So what might Walk The Walk… Talk The Talk mean in the context of Kilmister's musical career? Well, it's unlikely that Motorhead fans should start worrying that their favorite band has been dealt some eights to go with its aces. Really, it took five years for Head Cat to record a followup to Fool's Paradise. Still, we can hope that Lemmy wants another getaway from his everyday soon, because Walk The Walk… Talk The Talk is too much fun to just let drop.



Walk The Walk… Talk The Talk
will be released on July 5, 2011 via Niji Entertainment. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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