I don’t know about you but I’ve always felt that there was a bit of inverse snobbery about Northern Ireland band The Answer. In some quarters, they are too derivative/bland/bluesy/straightforward (delete to your own preference). Honestly, since when did making a no nonsense, in your face rock ‘n’ roll record be such a problem? Now on their third album, County Down’s finest have taken their honest, no frills brand of rock and delivered a lovely slab of tunes and riffs that I’m very happy to have invading the space between my ears, thank you very much.
Opening track “Waste Your Tears” starts off all bluesy but rapidly adopts the tone and style for the rest of the album- massive riffs, memorable tunes and huge choruses that have you singing along with, almost immediately. “Nowhere Freeway“, surely a soon-to-be-single, featuring the backing vocal talents of Saint Jude‘s Lynne Jackaman, is what we refer to around these parts as “a bit of a corker”. Seriously infectious, it has been competing vigorously on my generic MP3 player with Chickenfoot‘s “Different Devil” for my hard rock song of the year. It is, ladies and gentlemen, absolutely massive. Likewise, the rifftabulous (is that a word? it is now) ‘Caught on the Riverbed’ is a classic horns-up, chant-along that will be causing serious outbreaks of air guitar across the land. ‘Tornado’ is exactly that- a pure rock steak- and ‘Lights are Down’, the album’s closer, has more “lighters out” moments than a cigarette factory.
Throughout the album, you’re struck by the continued power of Cormac Neeson‘s vocal prowess but, to be honest, this is a real collective effort: the band are fearsomely tight and you get a sense that, in the live environment, this is all going to work brilliantly. Whilst no one is going to argue that The Answer are not blues influenced, “Revival” is much more rock drenched than blues soaked. Much of it has echoes of early Aerosmith (when they were glorious and doing more drugs than Boots the chemist) and is much more focussed on the song than the overall mood; as a result, the blend they have achieved is more direct and, dammit, more straight down the line enjoyable.
The band have found a template and are now on the journey to perfecting it. There is nothing fancy or “arty” about The Answer: they are, in many ways, the Ronseal of the hard rock scene- they do, as they say, exactly what it says on the tin. For me, this makes me warm to them even more. Meat and potatoes rock? Yeah, probably, but you know what? I love meat and potatoes and so, if you were honest, do you.