Lovebite - 'Lock 'n' Load' (Spectra Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Tuesday, 01 October 2013 03:40

lovebitecoverIf there's a more cliché-riddled musical minefield than the modern day cock rock sub-genre then I've yet to see it. With bands either tarting up cringe-worthy melodic rock with a cheezin' teezin' image or forgoing the music altogether to simply concentrate on 'the look', the heirs apparent to the hair metal throne seem happy to simply copy the pop metal hits of the late '80s with no thought for the fact that a lot of them were Bret Michaels' fringe-thin attempts at ripping off the small number of truly great bands that the genre ever really produced anyway.


That's why when a band with at least a bit of a clue strut into view they stick out like Jerry Dixon's eyebrows. One such band that has come to my attention and, happily, left me with at least a little hope rather than the usual despair at having to listen to a bad 'new' version of something that was already awful a quarter of a century ago, is Lovebite.


Lovebite might be standing in the shadows of love in Birmingham rather than the Sunset Strip but, with their ambitious and impressive long player 'Lock 'n' Load', this eight-legged cock rock 'n' rollercoaster comes hurtling downhill, yes, with every cliché imaginable clinging on for dear life but, importantly, with enough suss and coolness going on to just about get away with it.


Led by frontman Jonny Sparks, whose vocals are rooted in the Davy Vain/David Roach cool camp, Lovebite succeed because their sound, while owing much to the likes of LA Guns and Skid Row, hits like the nu-breed of Scandinavian glam that pretty much kept the scene alive when everyone else cut their hair and gave up on music....until The fuckin' Darkness came along to wake them out of their comfortable middle-aged slumber. But I digress...


Lovebite have enough of that Swedish edge to them to really make a fist of this rock 'n' roll lark, sounding more like Crashdiet (Lepard/Cruz era, not that other clown) than an amalgamation of the '80s bands that appear to have influenced them so. A little poppier than the 'street metal' of Hardcore Superstar, Lovebite have absorbed a modern glam taint that is a truer homage to the cock rock of a few decades ago than the godawful glamcore faecal matter that gets peddled to the youth of today by way of five cool haircuts and a load of twin guitar bollocks, guitars worn up around the armpits, of course.


No, Lovebite have fused the acceptable parts of glam metal then and now and recorded a fine album that features a dozen tracks that spike in all the right places and are sure to strike a chord with the more knowledgeable of the hair metal hierarchy instead of just the teen girls who use Reckless Love and Steel Panther as starting points.


Sirens and gang vocals usher in the album before 'Sin City' spills a load onto your speakers, just one of many song highlights littered throughout. There's plenty of worshipping at the Temple of Crüe, wailing guitars, shredding solos, banshee-like screams and lyrics that you've heard a million times before, song titles too - 'Love/Hate', 'Breakin' The Rules', 'Too Much Is Never Enough' - but Lovebite somehow manage to get away with it all, purely by refusing to walk that most predictable of paths. They're never too far away, but, somehow, they've managed to harness a bit of lightning and hold on as if their very rock 'n' roll lives depend on it. Actually they pretty much do. Even when they unfurl the age-old power ballad they do so with such a hook-laden vigour that it's hard not to doff your skull scarf-wrapped cowboy hat in their general direction.


The best of the nu-breed of UK cock rock acts by some margin, better than the majority of the old glam guard still trying to make something happen too as it happens, Lovebite prove that looking back doesn't have to be accompanied by the stale taste of desperation.