The Datsuns -Outta Sight / Outta Mind
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Nov. 23, 2004
Review by Tony BonyataWhen the New Zealand band The Datsuns released their debut in 2003 their music was conveniently, if not altogether incorrectly, lumped in with the then burgeoning garage rock movement. But the fact was, with gargantuan AC/DC guitar riffs laid down by Phil and Christian Datsun, breakneck rhythms and agonizing howls from singer Dolf de Datsun, the sounds that emerged from this band had very little to do with original 1960s garage rock (The Sonics, The Seeds, 13th Floor Elevators, et al.) much less the new kids (such as The White Stripes and The Hives) who at the time were simulating the burning odor of Penzoil on a hot manifold with their stripped-down aggressive rock.
So, quite possibly, in reaction to their connection with this new movement The Datsuns hired Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones to produce their sophomore effort Outta Sight / Outta Mind. What Jones has done is help to shake off any of the raw, scuzzed-up immediacy of their first release, without losing any of the big, bad late '70s hard rock bravado. And, for the most part, it works.
With barnburners such as the opener "Blacken My Thumb," "You Can't Find Me" and "That Sure Ain't Right" the musical intensity of this band is still firmly intact, but unlike their last album where the level of urgency went straight for the throat, here it seems content to just get you on your feet and moving -which it most certainly does.
Setting aside their unapologetic AC/DC tendencies for the time being, while also purposely sidestepping the crunch and dynamics of their producer's former band, The Datsuns still manage to mine through enough late '70s arena hard rock - with loud blues-rockers such as "Messin' Around" and "Hong Kong Fury" - to get Terrible Ted [Nugent] to chuck his bow-and-arrow from his camouflaged tree-stand in favor of wielding his guitar onstage again.
The only misfire here is the clunky "What I've Lost," which just goes to prove that these rockers from Down Under are really only effective when they're doing white-knuckled lawn-jobs with the pedal-to-the-metal - which, thankfully, as it turns out, is about 95% of the time.
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