Anyone still sniffy about the resurgence of interest in rock’n’roll might as well scram now. Honest-to-god guitar music never went away, but thanks to everything from Rival Sons’ Grammy nominations and the success of Greta Van Fleet, to such closer-to-home success stories as the New Wave Of Classic Rock Facebook group and Ramblin’ Man Fair’s hothouse Rising Stage, it hasn’t been as exciting in a long time.
Earache Presents: The New Wave Of Rock N Roll is an essential state-of-the-nation address (just how a small death metal label in Nottingham became the epicentre of this movement is a story in itself). Rightly celebrating the scene’s British wing, it brings together 15 uniformly brilliant bands, all of whom are bringing something new and something different to the table.
Some of the names might be familiar, even if you haven’t been paying attention; Leicester’s iron-willed SKAM have been kicking around for the better part of a decade, and their perseverance bleeds through the fuzzy, funky Take It Or Leave It.
But the majority of the acts here will be new to most. However, with pretty much every one of them, that’s unlikely to be the case for long, whether that’s thanks to Samarkind’s electric hoedown Black Rain, Gorilla Riot’s deceptively laid-back Bad Son or Loz Campbell’s exhilarating Back Biting The Bullet.
What’s striking is how many bands here go beyond the usual suspects influence-wise. Sure, all of them have the DNA of Led Zeppelin, and the Black Crowes too. But you can hear the White Stripes in Jack J Hutchinson’s frantic howl, and Lzzy Hale would have been proud to call Tomorrow Is Lost’s We Are The Lost her own.
What’s even more striking is how many of these artists are female. Yeah, we should be over that conversation by now, but the sad fact is we aren’t. This album goes some way to redressing that, front-loading it with a run of superior-quality numbers such as Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin’ Stones’ Bomb Through The Breeze, Elles Bailey’s swampy Medicine Man and Verity White’s scything Inside Your Love.
Earache Presents: The New Wave Of Rock N Roll is unarguably a collection of the brightest guitar bands around. But it’s more than that – it’s not a stretch to see it becoming a future landmark, as important to this developing scene as Metal For Muthas was to the NWOBHM or C/Z Records’ Seattle Rosetta Stone Deep Six comp was to grunge. All it needs now is something – or someone – to properly kick it to the next level. Over to you.