You wait 25 years for a shitkicking rock’n’roll band just like the ones they used to make to come along, and then three arrive at the same time. Like We Are Harlot and H.e.a.t, Atlanta’s Biters are a proper throwback to more innocent times – well, a lot less innocent times, if we’re being honest – when the clubs rang with the clatter of stripper heels and the only thing that cut through the Aquanet fug was the stench of sweat and Jack Daniel’s.
Biters look like Stiv Bators but sound like Cheap Trick. And Thin Lizzy. And Kiss. And AC/DC. They’re an eight-legged Frankenstein’s monster in battered sneakers, abused leather jackets and an overdose of jet-black Clairol For Men./o:p
The first line of the opening track, Restless Hearts, sets the tone. ‘I’m heading out the door to the liquor store,’ sings frontman Tuk (yes, Tuk) in a sugared sneer, over the top of a riff that Angus Young would reject for being too simplistic. It’s not rocket science. It’s barely even sports science.
But Electric Blood – their second album – is dumb in the way the Ramones were dumb. Which is not really dumb at all. Its mission statement may be ‘I wanna rock’n’roll all night, like it’s 1975’ (from the self-explanatory 1975), but there’s a street-smart attitude underneath it all. Heart Fulla Rock N Roll and the Lizzy-indebted Space Age Wasteland drip with the sort of hooks you thought had been buried with Parental Advisory stickers and Poison’s career.
It might not sound like it, but this isn’t the work of morons. Well, not complete morons. Or maybe they’re just a different class of moron.
Strip away the punk-rock facade and Biters are a hair-metal band – less Sex Pistols, more Love Gun. But they’re a truly fantastic hair-metal band at that – just listen to the title track’s freewheeling climax, or the shiny, chromium-plated pop-rock of The Kids Aren’t Alright. And the best thing of all is that it’ll take you longer to read this review than it will to listen to Electric Blood – 30 minutes, 23 seconds. Wham, bam, outta here.
Biters have succeeded in doing what used to be par for the course a quarter of a century ago. They’ve created a self-contained world – a darkened club where a never-ending party is soundtracked by the endless sonic explosion of MTV.
It’s too soon to make a call on whether they’re spearheading something new – three unconnected bands isn’t a scene. But there’s definitely something stirring, and if anyone’s going to bring the good times back, you’d do worse than to put your money on Biters./o:p