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The Mattless Boys: The Mattless Boys

Spike-topped veterans still boast best tunes.

While 1976’s punk upheaval provided the vehicle upon which The Boys hitched their initial ride on the rock‘n’rollercoaster, their musical roots stretched back into far more fertile stylistic soil than the artless three-chord ramalam that characterised (and hobbled) many of their contemporaries.

Here, the band – temporarily without benefit of co-frontman Matt Dangerfield – demonstrate their enduring ability to channel 70s Stones rock swagger through ’65 Beatles pop classicism to excellent, timeless effect.

Sweet McCartney sentiments and melodies are cannily soured by the leather-jacketed, Keef-informed hoodlum-isms of Honest John Plain’s subtly country-saddened guitar licks before being kicked arse-backwards into contemporary relevance by newest recruit Vom Ritchie’s propulsive, four-to-the- floor drumming.

Being The Boys, the piss‘n’vinegar punk assaults (Speeding, Promises) are tempered with lashings of minor-chorded Brill Building, tears-behind-the-shades melancholia, striking a vintage glam balance that’ll have you mumbling “they don’t write ‘em like this any more” as you pogo nostalgically from armchair to sofa.

A triumph, yes. But why wouldn’t it be? These Boys can write songs that sound like sure-fire hits in their sleep. If only they sold like sure-fire hits.

Ian Fortnam

Commissioning both album reviews and live reviews, Classic Rock reviews editor Ian has been fearlessly filtering the rock from the cock since 2003.