I’m fairly new to the music of the Answer. After a short but rousing set at last year’s Download, they won me over and I devoured their previous four albums to discover a band full of hard rocking gems and some beautiful ballads.
Given the new album is entitled Raise a Little Hell, I was expecting an album full of catchy, all-out, pedal to the metal songs to set the world ablaze, a bit like an Airbourne album. They are present but you have to wade through the first half of the album which is far more laidback and nonchalant, a perfect format if you get the album on vinyl.
Bass-heavy opener “Long Live the Renegades” is closer to the straightforward balls-out rock tunes the band has given us on the last four albums before things drop a gear for the next few tracks. It’s a song which speaks to us all; that seed of rebellion which sits in us all, waiting to germinate, looking for that bit of encouragement.
Make no mistake, having an album a more subtle beginning before the band kick it up a notch on the back half makes for a great change of pace. Too many times have a band slapped all their hard hitters at the start and the album slowly deflates and finishes with a whimper, rather than a bang. Really, it’s a stroke of genius to start low and slowly raise hell by the end of the album.
It does allow for the band to explore their bluesier side and there are some great tracks such as “The Other Side”. It allows vocalist Cormac Neeson to growl and shriek in frustration as he weaves around the music, rising and then suddenly dropping off without notice. It feels reminiscent of Biffy Clyro’s “Many of Horror” but with a far harder edge. As for “Cigarettes & Regret”; it bubbles with melancholy, the man taking in a contemplative cigarette to make one of the best songs of the album.
Elsewhere, we get gritty with “Last Days of Summer”, a sluggish song as the season stumbles to the end of the days, going for one last push. “Whiplash” is suitably named. That’s what you’ll have after headbanging to it. “Gone Too Long” is equal parts ballsy, wistful and rousing tune, trying to make amends for past mis-deeds.
There are some great songs on this record. There’s no sign of reinventing the wheel, just The Answer doing what they do best, hard edged rock and roll with a good helping of blues in various measures to keep things fresh and varied. There’s a good handful of songs that will fit in nicely with their back catalogue when they’re performing.
While Raise a Little Hell is a welcome addition to the roster of albums from The Answer, they just fall short of their peak. Personally, I think Revival was their finest work but it’s more songs and they put on a great performance. I can’t wait to hear what some of these new songs will sound like when they hit Glasgow next month.
Raise a Little Hell‘s various release dates are:
- G/A/S/Europe/AUS: 06.03.2015
- UK/NO/FR/DK/IT: 09.03.2015
- SE/ESP: 11.03.2015
- USA/CAN: 17.03.2015