It seems Italy's latest and greatest export these days, besides mozzarella and the Pope, is a slew of homegrown melodic hard rock bands in the sleaze, glam and punk tradition. Of course, this is not new. Scandinavia has had a renaissance of sorts going on for nearly ten years, and you're beginning to see more in the United States too. Additionally, it's the upstart Italian label Street Symphonies that seems to have a knack for discovering some of those better bands both locally and now, internationally. This summer the label gives us Upper Class Bastards from Italy (reviewed here) and Peep Show from Scotland.
A brief glance at the Out for Bloods cover confirms that Scotland's Peep Show is most definitely in the sleaze/cock rock tradition. They definitely have the look circa 1987: spandex, leather, bracelets, big hair and makeup. But, as always, the real question is can the back it up with good songs and better musicianship. We all know the single most irritating feature of those bands of yesteryear was that so many were all fashion and flash with little or no musical backbone. The good news: though this is derivative sleaze rock from back in the day, Peep Show has the chops to pull if off with fresh new enthusiasm.
With ten songs in review on Out for Bloods, most are raunchy and rambunctious rockers covering the usual gutter subjects. But some will surprise you. Generally, all the songs develop well over a strong rhythm section with some quite precise bass work (take note of Turn It Up and Nice Night To Die). Johnny Gunn's vocals are nasty, but mostly efficient; don't ask him to over extend himself. As on the Upper Class Bastard's release, Peep Show's strongest point may be Rusty Gill's fret work: strong, efficient, and quite lively throughout. For some atypical surprises, check out the title track with its thrashy punk sound; Nice Night to Die, a heavier bass line driven rocker with great background vocals; or the very catchy, closest thing to a rock ballad, Until It's Gone. Conversely, Out for Bloods offers some predictability as Peep Show and the ugly Cat Boy are average and forgettable numbers.
Scotland's Peep Show may remind some, who were actually around in the day, of LA sleaze rock and you would be right. Out for Bloods is pure and nasty cock rock done well. In other words, unlike some modern peers and even some bands back then, Peep Show has the musicianship to pull it off in a fresh and entertaining way. The only question that remains is, do they have the common sense to sustain themselves without succumbing to the very lifestyle that the music champions? The odds are against them.
Scotland's Peep Show may remind some, who were actually around in the day, of LA sleaze rock and you would be right. Out for Bloods is pure and nasty cock rock done well. In other words, unlike some modern peers and even some bands back then, Peep Show has the musicianship to pull it off in a fresh and entertaining way.
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