Follow Us on Twitter

The Datsuns - Smoke & Mirrors

The Datsuns, Smoke and Mirrors

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE third album from New Zealand rockers The Datsuns is a mixed bag that impresses and depresses in equal measure.

Driven by the fiercely intense style of singer/bassist Rudolph (Dolf) De Borst, the band first emerged as part of The Strokes-led garage rock era of 2001, when rock fans swarmed to a raw, punky, ‘80s laced sound.

Since then, they have gone their own way and Smoke & Mirrors puts further distance between them and any Strokes-style comparisons.

Its inspirations are numerous – from the classic big stadium sound of AC/DC and their ilk, to the more contemporary insanity of The Automatic.

They remain, however, a no-nonsense rock and roll band and their style is aggressive, in-yer-face and most capable of appealing to the black leather jacket brigade.

Occasionally, this becomes a wall of noise capable of inspiring more headaches than compliments, as in former single System Overload and Maxiumum Heartbreak. But then the names themselves kind of suggest a lack of restraint.

When they reign themselves in a little, the album begins to sound a hell of a lot better.

Waiting For Your Time To Come, for instance, is a slightly more bluesy number that contains a genuine sense of foreboding about it. The wailing guitars that run throughout contain a haunting quality that’s difficult to ignore.

While the slide guitar style of Stuck Here For Days hints, musically, at Rocco DeLuca even if the vocals threaten to ruin the party somewhat through a lack of restraint.

The gospel-backed All Aboard is another highlight, featuring more highly-charged slide guitars and an epic sense of theatricality.

But once the album slips into the noisy swagger of tracks like Such A Pretty Curse and the screeching Emperor’s New Clothes it rapidly loses its appeal and quickly becomes tiresome.

There’s no doubting that The Datsuns go about their business with all the brashness of a classic stadium-filling rock band – but while bands such as Jet and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club capably balance this with songwriting maturity, The Datsuns still need to perfect that mix.

Fun in places, but mostly frustrating.

Track listing:

  1. Who Are You Stamping Your Foot For
  2. System Overload
  3. Waiting For Your Time To Come
  4. Stuck Here For Days
  5. Maximum Heartbreak
  6. All Aboard
  7. Such A Pretty Curse
  8. Blood Red
  9. Emperor’s New Clothes
  10. Too Little Fire