The Sore Losers - Skydogs album review

Belgians squeeze new juice from old genres

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The Skydogs inlay depicts a pile of clutter – Sabbath singles, Stones badges, Iggy posters – that gives you the measure of The Sore Losers. The Belgian four-piece are hardly original, but they work the heavy blues and proto-punk templates exceptionally well.

Opener Blood Moon Shining is a dino-stomp that could have fallen off Iommi’s fretboard, early standout Got It Bad is a must-stream, and when they shift gears to MC5 territory on Cherry Cherry, Jan Straetemans proves himself a useful provocateur.

Frustratingly, the band also have a taste for mid-tempo indie – not represented by their mountain of detritus – and torpid moments like Emily and All I Am slow the record’s strut. Best track Nightcrawler pulls it back, though, with a snake-charmer lick, a sex-pest chorus cut from the same cloth as Midnight Rambler, and a runaway outro that shows off their musicianship. With a few more like that, The Sore Losers could be gracious winners.