Imperial State Electric – “Honk Machine” (Psychout Records)
Well I was never a big fan of The Hellacopters but Imperial State Electric is something else! If Nicke Andersson’s previous hard rockin’ band drew from the likes of the MC5, early Kiss, The Stooges etc then ISE goes the whole hog in taking you on a trip right back to the late 60s / early 70s. Less aggressive or out’ve control than The Hellacopters, ISE unashamedly exudes the pop rock melodies and crooning harmonies that were so evident in early Kiss, the white boy funk rock of the Rolling Stones, the Cally rock of the Eagles, southern rock boogie, soul, bluegrass and hippy rock with love sincerely written all over it. Headbanger I am, and will always be, but “Honk Machine” had me in ecstasy such was the irresistible power of the material – not in the intensity of the playing, but just the sheer excellence of the 11 songs, each one a hit in itself so much so that this could be a best of from that era so ridden of political and social strife, yet so hopeful and inspiring in its music. Nicke Andersson, I never really cared for your stuff before but you broke my cold black heart this day and tears ran down my face as I listened to ‘Lost In Losing You’, ‘Another Armageddon’ and ‘All Over My Head’. I cannot be moved to say anything more on this other than that it’s perfect – from musicianship to production – but most of all, the heart and soul on these simply stupendous songs that should be blasted all over the world to give it hope again. Definitely one of my albums of the year even if it isn’t metal.