Humbucker: R.O.C.K.S.

Hard rocking hombres from Oslo’s mean streets.

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Drummer and main songwriter Geir Arne Dale started Humbucker in 1998, so to say this debut is late is an understatement.

These Vikings are doughty survivors anyway and R.O.C.K.S., produced to within an inch of its life by Thomas Wang and Beau Hill, most certainly achieves the titular boast. Nailing their Kiss-loving colours to the mast on opening crowd pleaser The Way I Am is smart, and the non-stop retro references aren’t at all shabby.

Singer Jan Boen has got monstrous pipes, while guitarists John Petter Pershaug and Vidar Svanheld have absorbed decades of heavy metal licks and are anxious to let them loose at every opportunity.

Black Nickel and Doing My Job (In A Rock And Roll Band) are steeped in affection for leather coated boogie, and the main template, an approximation of ZZ Top’s quest for perpetual motion, means it’s mostly utmerket, as they say in Norway.

Max Bell

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.