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The Sore Losers - Skydogs album review

Belgians squeeze new juice from old genres

The Sore Losers Skydogs album cover

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.

Henry Yates

Henry Yates is a freelance journalist who has written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a regular guest on Times Radio and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.