Obligatory apology… Blackpool-based The Senton Bombs got in touch with me in plenty of time for me to review this album before it was released on the 15th. The fact that I’m tapping these words out a week afterwards is my own fault. On the other hand, I’m hoping that what I have for you here is enough for them to get a slightly delayed few extra sales.
The Senton Bombs are not a “new” band as such. They’ve been together for a decade and just signed a deal with 7Hard Records to shift this, their fourth album overall. The time they’ve spent playing and touring together has been well spent – this is a cracking rock album. Nothing highly original, but that for me is its strength. Cranking up Mass Vendetta is like taking a trip back to 1984 when great bands were still getting radio play.
The two singles from the album are the first two tracks and they’re as good as any to give you a feel for what’s within. “Trailblazer” and “Mainstream” are different enough to show variety, but similar enough to demonstrate that The Senton Bombs have a sound of their own. Rhythmic, pounding and with sleazy, gritty vocals from Joey Class they bring in flavours of so many bands that I’m simply not going to mention any. One glance through their press clippings names all the ones I was thinking of and a few more!
I have to say, though, that the first track that really grabbed me on the album was the third – “Train Wreck”. I think it’s the high-speed intro that really does sound like a train heading down the tracks toward you. It’s got the punchiest start to any of the songs and a great use of rhythm by skin-basher Scott Mason.
I’ve not mentioned the guitars yet (Class also does bass) and it’s actually “Mainstream” that includes one of the best bridge/solos around the 2:30 mark with some nice tones on the six-strings. The two guitars of Johnny Gibbons and Damien Kage swap over without it seeming forced or overly “guitar-wankery”. Nice, simple, heavy… rock’n’roll.
It’s always nice to have something obviously different just to show a band can spread its wings, and no rock album is complete without an acoustic (or at least non-distorted guitar) led track. Mass Vendetta has “Out West” which is, despite the thumping rhythms, a ballad at heart. Class uses an obviously more tempered vocal style in this one, and the clean guitar tones for the verses allow you to hear the lyrics nice and clearly.
The title track is one of the shortest songs on the album and with a short, staccato main riff sounds more punk than rock. This is one to get the crowd going near the start of a set – step on stage, launch this and then break for a few seconds to say “hello” before launching into something else. “13 Days” is much of the same ethos – fast and dirty, the shortest track at a shade over 2 minutes – and is as long as it needs to be. It’s probably one of my favourites, but I don’t begrudge its brief running time – I just shove it on repeat.
Like “Out West”, Avalanche goes for the lighter tone but I don’t feel it works quite as well as the earlier track. I can’t really pinpoint why, but I prefer the first. “Pretty Tricky” opens with a lick that promises lunacy and chaos and it doesn’t disappoint. A breakneck, punky number that would do any safety-pin pierced, green spiky-haired group proud.
It took me a while to get into “Wedlock Horns”, but I can see it being good live. The rhythm is made for overhead hand-clapping and the short guitar solos are amongst the best on the album. “Red Shield” is probably the “odd one out” on the LP, being the most different from the others. Sounding very late 1970’s, due to the guitar tone, slight echo on the vocals and a near-keyboard tone in the background. It’s also very anti-authority, suiting the mood both back then and today.
Album ender “Apex” is one of the heavier songs. Slower than anything of the other tracks, the guitars have been distorted to the max and headbanging is the order of the day.
If you want to check the songs out, you can listen to the whole album and purchase it here. It’s only £7 for a digital version, which is a bargain. They seem to tour a hell of a lot, not just in the UK, so do keep your eyes open in case they’re passing through your neighbourhood.