In the wake of the death of Prince, the return of Beyonce and the giddy expectation surrounding new Radiohead material, there have been plenty of testaments written about those stellar artists who can revolutionise the music industry and create epic, stadium-filling moments of pop genius.
It’s difficult to be snotty and snarky about those mould-breakers and the impact and excitement that they generate. But you know, sometimes the mood just calls for a sweaty barroom, a dirty, raucous blues-rock band and wailing soul mama with lungs like giant bellows. And that’s what you get with Seratones.
There’s no earth-shattering glimpse into the future or visionary trip down new sonic highways, just bawls to the wall blasts of ragged, soulful old time rock’n’roll on their debut album Get Gone. It might seem pretty retro and limited by contrast, but when opener "Choking on Your Spit" starts surging and AJ Haynes begins laying down the law, any intellectual snobbery goes out the window and primal instincts take over.
When Jack White came rocketing out of scuzzy Detroit clubs back in the early 2000s, he brought with him a few of these types of great, lost, garage-rock heirlooms. They didn’t go on to world domination but the Detroit Cobras in particular were sexy, high voltage and rowdy as hell, with a tattooed, chain-smoking, whisky slugging frontwoman who could have you eaten you alive. Seratones probably have slightly more in common with The Bellrays, who emerged from California around that time, and the Southern soul twang of Alabama Shakes or even the real early frantic Kings of Leon stuff might be a decent reference points too.
Their spiky, slashing riffs and tight, pounding backbeats drive hard on "Necromancer", but it’s Haynes who steals the show and demonstrates the elegance and power of a voice crafted by a childhood spent singing in Baptist choirs in Louisiana on the gospel-goes-grunge meltdown of "Don’t Need It". The dreamy, meandering, rumble of ‘Kingdom Come’ is pretty forgettable but the real highlights come when they start channelling Ike and Tina through a fuzz boxes and giant Marshall amp stacks on the scorching, hard-stomping ‘Sun’ and the sassy, R’n’B strut ‘Chandelier’.
The formula might not be a new one, and ultimately Seratones are unlikely to change the world, but they will make your day.