As a big fan of The Dead Daisies since the release of their self-titled debut, it was the no-brainer of the year that I would attend when they were playing in Stockholm. More or less at the same time we were leaving for the concert, I read online that this band called The New Roses would be the opening act. Now, I will admit not overly proudly that with age I have become one of those buffers who comfortably skips the opening act for another beer with my friends if I don’t know the band. Well, for some reason I logged in to YouTube and checked out one of The New Roses’ songs there. I liked what I heard and decided that this time I would see what they had to offer live. Of course, I did miss half their gig, something that really bugged me afterwards because I thought they were awesome. That meant that I had to get a hold of their three albums – Without A Trace (2013), Dead Man’s Voice (2015) and One More For The Road (2017) – and man, did I enjoy those. Luckily enough I got the chance to watch a whole gig with them at Sweden Rock later on.
For those who The New Roses is a new name to, the band hails from Rheingau, Germany (something that took me by surprise as I thought the band was American due to singer and guitarist Timmy Rough not sporting any German accent, at least what I heard, when he spoke in between the songs – Germans without any accent when they speak English aren’t that common) back in 2007 by Rough and drummer Urban Berz but didn’t settle with the name The New Roses until 2012 when the band was completed by guitarist Dizzy Presley and bassist Stefan Kassner. The latter members has since – in 2014 – the left the band and were replaced by guitarist Norman Bites and bassist Hardy. Since the band started they have done some massive touring and opened up for acts such as Y&T, Accept, ZZ Top, Black Stone Cherry, Saxon and Joe Bonamassa, something that’s made them a tight live-act. Now it’s time for them to follow-up the successful predecessor and I for one had some very high hopes for this record.
In a fast, rough and fierce way, the flower-guys opens the album with “Soundtrack Of My Life”, a hard and kick-ass in-your-face rocker that takes no prisoners. This sleazy belter oozes of self-confidence – pounding drums, thunderous bass and razor-sharp guitar riffs lays ground for a vicious main-melody and a crunchy refrain. I’m almost exhausted by just listening here – so awesome! The band keep up the punchiness with “Can’t Stop Rock & Roll”, another gritty and raunchy rocker that mixes immediate melodies and a catchy chorus with lots of attitude and a raunchy groove. Brilliant. The leading single “Down By The River” gave hints of greatness when it was released a couple of months ago. A big stadium Rock track with a Classic Rock swagger and a nod to Southern Rock, the tune also brings on a melody that brings 80’s Bryan Adams to mind and a Melodic Rock refrain that hits like a ton of bricks. This should have been a major hit in a fair world. Awesome stuff!
The title-track keeps up the grittiness and the band goes into sleaze mode with a rock ‘n’ roll groove, a steady beat, an addictive main-melody and a chorus to die for. The tune also holds a big live-vibe and is most likely to go down like a storm live. Magnificent. “Heartache” is a mid-paced but upbeat melodic hard-rocker with a big-ass groove, crunchy guitars and a royally direct and catchy refrain that knocked me for six right from go. It’s ballad-time when “The Bullet” pays a visit. Based on acoustic guitars, this Classic Rock ballad throws influences from The Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith and Cinderella in a blender with some Southern Rock touches. A small nod to late 80’s/early 90’s power balladry in the massive refrain makes the tune a single-contender – and it really should be one as the tune really screams hit-potential. Man, how I love this stuff.
“Running Out Of Hearts” is more of an uptempo Pop song dressed up in a Rock ‘n’ Roll suit. That said, it’s both quite crispy and punchy and holds a meaty beat and a straight-forward groove. It’s a damn catchy feel-good pop-rocker that brings on the feel of summer breeze and good times. A great song with a great deal of hit-potential. “Unknown Territory” sets the sail for some classic rock-swingin’ and groovin’ with an in-your-face, on-your-case attitude, a kick-ass outlook and an infectious refrain. This is Classic Rock with a good punch that will make any crowd go bananas. Splendid stuff. “As The Crow Flies” gets going with slower verses that are crunchy and robust but with a groove. It speeds up during the chorus, a chorus that’s cocky, rowdy and hard-kicking. It’s not overly catchy but it’s both distinct and direct. It’s a good song but my least favorite one so far.
“Give & Take” slows the tempo down with a heavier and darker mood and the stompy groove makes it headbang-friendly, which in turn gives it a stellar live-vibe. It’s a memorable tune for sure but it’s hardly single material. Very good. On a softer laden note, “The Only Thing” is a crunchier, Classic Rock take on late 80’s power-balladry. Sure, it’s a rock-ballad but it comes with a crunch and it never becomes cheesy. It’s more a powerful ballad than an actual power ballad. It also holds a magnificent refrain so catchy and immediate that if this doesn’t become at least a small hit, I don’t know what will. “Meet Me Half Way” is an acoustically led little pearl of a pop-rocker with a chunk of Classic Rock and a slight twist of Southern Rock thrown into the mix. It comes with a stompy beat, even danceable but never lacks attitude and and the main melody is nothing but brilliant. So is the chorus that sticks right from go. Great.
To finish off this groove-fest, the upbeat “Glory Road” strikes with a mix of Classic Rock, Americana and large pop-vibes that makes the tune both gritty and smooth. It’s a very direct number that throws around memorable melodies – that actually brings Swedish Melodic Rock band Eclipse to mind at times – and hooks like the band had a surplus deluxe of those. The fact that it is the latest single makes perfect sense as it’s majorly catchy and the refrain is very direct and effective. Mind-blowing! “Glory Road” might be the proper closer but the album do end with two acoustic tracks. The first is a stripped version of “Down By The River” and it works but I prefer the electric version. The second, “Fight You Leaving Me” from One For The Road, is an emotional and soulful ballad and even though I, in this case as well, prefer the original, it do come across splendidly and works slightly better than “Down By The River”.
Firstly, let’s one thing clear – The New Roses aren’t here to reinvent the wheel. At all. Just like so many other new bands. The New Roses simply takes the music they love by artists they love and make The New Roses out of it. What’s important is that as a fan, you can feel the music and that the members knows how to write great songs. The New Roses has always done exactly that. While I really dig their previous records – the guys has always improved by each record – I’m quite astounded by just how awesome this record is. I had expected it to be good, even great, but I didn’t think it would be this bloody amazing. This record is full of gritty, rough and energetic Classic Rock tunes with big chunks of Hard Rock, Pop and twists of Southern Rock where there’s room for both hooks and catchiness on one side and attitude, cockiness and one hell of self-confidence on the other. I have listened a whole lot to this album since it came out and I just can’t get enuff of it. When it comes to straight-forward, kick-ass, melodic Rock, this album is just as awesome as it gets!
1. Soundtrack Of My Life
2. Can’t Stop Rock & Roll
3. Down By The River
4. Nothing But Wild
6. The Bullet
7. Running Out Of Hearts
8. Unknown Territory
9. As The Crow Flies
10. Give & Take
11. The Only Thing
12. Meet Me Half Way
13. Glory Road
14. Down By The River (unplugged)
15. Fight You Leaving Me (unplugged)