Australian rockers One Thousand Years’ new record Get Your Rabbit’s Foot and Run reviewed by the Mad Dog
Arguably, the only two reasons you will ever have heard of Fremantle, Western Australia (population 25,000) are that AC/DC’s spiritual leader, Bon Scott, grew up there (in the sense that it was there that he got older, though perhaps not wiser) and it is the end point for four AC/DC fans’ journeying across Australia to spread their friend’s ashes on the aforementioned Mr. Scott’s grave in 2004′s cult movie, Thunderstruck.
Well, this little port enclave has produced an absolute gem of a band in the form of four young bucks who call themselves One Thousand Years. Why that name ? Well, according to lead vocalist and guitarist, Chris Boyd, it’s a “happy combination of three words arranged in such a way that they sound freakin’ huge”. And if the stars line up, that’s exactly what these guys will become.
At the risk of making yet another Mad Dog sweeping statement, it is refreshing to hear an Aussie band which is not apparently influenced by the great AC/DC. Instead, these lads have brewed up an astoundingly mature cocktail of two parts classic four-piece rock, two parts bluesy swagger and a generous twist of originality that makes debut album “Get Your Rabbit’s Foot And Run” a real highlight of 2014′s early releases. There are even tinges of probably two of the most vocally-powerful bands that ever came together in Queen and Boston – yeah, that’s ballsy I know but there…..I said it.
Album opener “Ready For Something” is a straightforward, stripped-down belter which wouldn’t have been out of place on a Free album and leads with a couple of minutes of very cool riffage, the brief lyric kicking in over halfway through, almost as an afterthought on what could easily have been a very decent instrumental.
With seat belts firmly fastened for the ride, the band rollicks through “When The Sun Opens It’s Eyes” with Crowes-style panache, a first taste of those big vocals and a delicious guitar solo that you could imagine Rich Robinson and the boys jammin’ out for 8 or 9 minutes.
“Voodoo” is swampy and sludgy and dripping with slide and harp whilst “Pandora” is a testament to One Thousand Years’ ability to pen darn good tunes. I hear a lot of music, A LOT. Many times I hear bands who can clearly master their respective instruments but still don’t grab me in the goolies, often not even warranting a second or third spin. But these guys have an instinct for a tune which has produced some impossibly catchy ditties – one of my personal favorites, American (Funk Jam), tips it’s hat to the MC5 and carves out a ridiculously hot groove overlaid with an intense combination of harmonica, horns and psychedelic vocals.
Reminds me of the first serious rock music TV program on UK television which ran from 1971 until 1987 called The Old Grey Whistle Test. Anecdotally, the name came from an old Tin Pan Alley phrase when they would take the first pressing of a new record and play it to the “old greys” – the doormen in grey suits. If they were heard to whistle the tune after the first hearing, the record was destined to be a hit. This album is as infectious as the clap in a Manila army base and had me doing my Mrs Doubtfire act with the broom handle whilst cleaning the house.
Point of trivia – rock songs which feature the Finnish capital of Helsinki are as rare as rocking horse shit. That said, Helsinki Blues is neither about Helsinki, nor is it a blues song per se but it is one of the best songs on the album – effectively a three-parter which sits very comfortably somewhere between moody Zeppelin and epic Queen – high praise indeed but crank it up and tell me I’m wrong.
The album really is strong throughout and the listener is struck again and again but the quality of the song-writing. “This Is How The Zombies Take Control” is about just that and chugs and thrums along whilst “Mama Love” brings to mind early Queen releases “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” – just a storming rock song.
Just when you think it can’t get any better, the last two tracks jump out behind you and smack you upside the head. “Little Jeans” is a blues-soaked number featuring beautifully meshed guitar and keys interplay and a heart-rending chorus. Then another standout track wraps up proceedings. “Soul Kitchen” romps to a soulful climax and must have had Messrs. Tyler and Perry wondering how that one got away from the Aerosmith songbook. A perfect coda to a near perfect rock and soul album with the best opening line in a long time….”Last night I got a letter from myself when I was thirteen….” – this track is the icing on a very calorie-heavy cake that you just can’t stop picking at.
“Get Your Rabbit’s Foot And Run” should be included in one of those time capsules and buried for rockers and rollers to enjoy One Thousand Years from now – they will love it and reminisce on how “CLASSIC” rock used to be. In the meantime, these guys should be congratulated on a fine debut album and plugged to hell and back. The truth is they’ll probably have to re-locate to one of the world’s mainstream music cities to get on the map but Fremantle, Western Australia is now firmly on my map.
The Mad “Dingo” Dog.