Another new actm but made up from members of an established band, Headline Maniac launch their debut self-titled album on July 8th. Featuring Ian Dean, Chris Taylor and Simon Bowley of Eddie and The Hot Rods, we have three musicians very much used to playing together who’ve decided to try something a little outside of their usual style. This threesome was actually formed to play as opening act for The Rods themselves on a series of reunion gigs last year, and the songs they wrote for it were just too good to throw away.
In truth, Headline Maniacs (the band and the album) aren’t a huge world away from the mother-band in terms of sound. Perhaps a little more bluesey, a bit heavier, but the punk roots really shine through giving it a nice, rough edge.
Looking through the track names, you could be forgiven for thinking that this would be an album full of maudlin ballads: “Give Me One More Chance”, “Someone Like You”, “You’re The One For Me”, “I Want All Your Love”… but there isn’t really anything gentle and lilting on here! Much the opposite, all eleven tracks are bouncy, catchy and filled with singalong lyrics. The most laid back are probably the album closer, “Gotta Get Away”, midway song “Hero” and “Millionaire”. None really reach acoustic Bon Jovi territory.
“Idiot Me” welcomes you to the album with what seems to be a blend of classic rock’n’roll (listen to the closing drumbeat) and a bit of modern pop-punk with the vocal style. It’s up-tempo, catchy and the perfect song to introduce you to the band. “Give Me One More Chance”, is a grinding blues-based song with some cracking bass carrying things through. Yes, it’s all about begging for one more chance (presumably with a partner), but it’s not downbeat in tone at all. Hell, the guitar solo that shreds in during the last third wouldn’t be out of place in a Maiden track.
“You’re the One For Me” channels “Foxy Lady” with its opening bass riff and stays very firmly in rock and roll territory throughout. The blues are again very much at the forefront of “I Want All Your Love” whereas “Millionaire” has a great chorus designed to have a huge crowd singing along. This is an arena song, absolutely.
Headline Maniac is a great album. No pretentions, no messing about; it’s just a quality rock’n’roll album from beginning to end that dips its toes into a couple of subgenres to keep things interesting. I’d suspect that any fans of Eddie and The Hot Rods would enjoy it, whereas anyone not familiar with the original band should give it a whirl regardless. Great summer listening, either while basking in the sunshine or while pretending that there actually bloody is some.