|Clifford Hoad's Kings Of The Sun - 'Rock Til Ya Die' (Self Released)|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Wednesday, 25 March 2015 04:00|
Rock stars need nicknames, right? Ozzy is the Prince of Darkness, Marilyn Manson is the God of Fuck and Blackie Lawless is overweight. Okay, the last one is more of an observation than a nickname but you get my point. Well now you can add another to the list because Clifford Hoad is the Antipodean Phil Collins of Hard Rock. That's right boys and girls much like a dancing bear or a water-skiing squirrel our Cliff is one of those mixed up combos that Mother Nature likes to throw at us now and again just to keep us on our toes. He's a singing drummer!
Now ol' Mother Nature knows that we'll always take a chance on a rhythmically challenged underdog with delusions of grandeur just in case he turns out to be something of a black diamond in the rough like the pussy faced Peter Criss. Rarely is our faith rewarded but this time Clifford saves us from slapping ourselves for falling for it again with a solid collection of songs that rock fairly convincingly.
Surprised? I was. With Clifford not only singing and drumming but also song writing it does look a bit like an ego trip on paper but the songs speak for themselves and as 'Fire On The Mountain' gets the show on the road it's clear Cliff can cut it. Next up we get 'Rockpile' beating a struttin' mid-tempo path. Clifford likes his rock alright and gives us three shots of the hard stuff spread out throughout the album. We're in a 'Rockpile' one minute, passing through 'Rocktown' the next before ending up with the title track, 'Rock Til Ya Die', as the penultimate foot stomper on an album that has more peaks than the Sydney Opera House. That's a whole lorra rock in anyone's book.
After all that rock I need to 'Reach For The Bottle' and midway through this groover I did think I was probably pretty close to the end of the album. Turned out though that I was in fact only about half way through the eleven tracks on offer so you could say that 'Rock Til Ya Die' is guilty of dragging its heels in a few places and 'Reach For The Bottle' with its near eight minute running length certainly doesn't help matters. It's a fine song, don't get me wrong, a quality foot tapper, not too dissimilar to something Bruce Springsteen might knock out, but it could've done with being trimmed a bit. As could the aforementioned 'Rocktown' and the laid back summer haze of 'Hearts Ablaze', two more with seven minute plus running times that I feel could have lost a little fat for the health benefits of the album as a whole.
But ultimately I do have to admit that overall, a few song length issues aside, this is actually a pretty cool album. It's easy to not hate it and that's half the job done when you're trying to win new fans. At no point did I ever want to turn it off, in fact quite a few times I even tried to turn it up only to find I was already at maximum volume, surely a good sign. I think I might be keeping this album around for a bit, I can see it playing out nicely in the summer months.
Nice one, Cliff!