It hasn’t been a bad build up to the release of The Hot Sprockets‘ second album. There have been three singles already, plus sell-out shows across the country. There’s even been an appearance on the Late Late. All of these have served to raise the profile of the band and bring the word of the five Dublin musical brothers to the masses.
Opening with a minimal lovely picked guitar riff and slide guitar combo, and recalling the Kings Of Leon way before their sex was on fire, ‘Quarter Roam’ is a brooding slow-burner of a track. ‘Soul Brother’ blasts away the dust kicked up by the opening with a good old-fashion rock ‘n’ roll foot-stomper and you can see why it was chosen as one of those singles, catching the attention and lodging itself in your brain. The album continues in a similar vein with ‘Boogie Woogie’ and ‘Shake Me Off’, the latter being a high-energy highlight.
On the other end of the scale, ‘Homeslice’ sounds just right. Understated and well-crafted, it’s somewhat of a sidestep of what comes before but it works well and signals the second half of the album taking a different turn. ‘Heavy On My Mind’, with its flute-led (yes really) chorus, brings a bit of groove to the party but nothing quite matches the rush of the opening salvo.
There’s nothing wrong with starting strongly or front-loading an album with singles but the problem here (and it’s only a small problem) is that these songs are so strong that it is hard to maintain the high standard all the way through. It may be a case of the latter half being a grower where the first is more immediate, only time will tell. But as second albums go, one with four big singles is something to be proud of. The Hots Sprockets have been doing it their way since they burst onto the scene and they continue to do so and for that they should be commended and celebrated.