There’s a little rockpocket full of people waiting for this album; the ones who diligently paid to see Thin Lizzy last year for a few minutes of their support, the ones who strived to attend as many nights of the January tour as possible to witness them leading the show, and the ones who caused the EP to sell out as soon as it was released – really, do any of you expect to be disappointed by ‘Silver Spoons and Broken Bones’? Didn’t think so. Expectations are high, but justifiably so. The Metal Gods DVD of the Nottingham gig was ordered by the bucketful, many fans buying it to tide them over until the release of this record on the 7th of July, instantly proving that the music is valued. There are plenty of people that Stone Gods don’t have anything to prove to at this point, but for those who have doubts, the rule is to dive in with an open mind or don’t bother at all – this is a fresh new 13-track fat juicy rawk album, no comparisons of the past necessary.
‘Burn The Witch’ was made to be an intro tune, hence it being the opening song for every gig during the January tour and the title track for the EP. It’s a song to grab the rock fan’s attention with a bowel-quaking force – it’s no wonder this band in its infancy managed to get the crowd singing “we’re gonna burn the witch” along with them even on their first headline tour. The next song is ingeniously placed, ‘Don’t Drink The Water’ being entertaining and jumpy and the antithesis of ‘Burn The Witch’, encompassing holiday fun with an unexpected ska-ish hint of steel drums after the second chorus. ‘Defend Or Die’ switches focus again, and is a favourite of ours here at OI HQ. I defy the hairs on the back of your neck to lie still during the gruff, layered vocals, and I expect all of your hairs to shift violently when the pounding musical backdrop kicks in. This song is pure metal (in the good way, not the Metallica way), a growling, vicious creature.
‘You Brought A Knife To A Gunfight’ is a much-loved favourite from the EP, a show of laddish aggressiveness combined with infectious riffs and an always winning use of the term “fuck you” – that will always prompt popularity. ‘Magdalene Street’ has gained huge esteem since the band made a video of them performing it acoustically and lobbed it on YouTube, causing volumes of people to know the words even before seeing them live. The album version has a wonderfully Brian May-eqsue intro, a haunting theme shot through all aspects of the music, and to me, it’s the song where Richie’s voice sounds the best – clearer than usual, powerful, with a pleasantly surprising amount of vibrato. ‘Where You Coming From’ is crammed with distress and double guitar solos to prepare you before the ballad hits, ‘Lazy Bones’ softening the album and plucking the heartstrings in a love song about compromise, gentle and acoustic, a lighters-in-the-air track.
It’s easy to guess what ‘I’m With The Band’ is about, and it includes a long build-up before the licks turn filthy and the vocals get callous. ‘Start Of Something’ is a song of air-punching defiance, one that’s knowing of the criticism the band do/will receive. It also includes my favourite Dan Hawkins solo of the whole album that connotes optimism for the future and is fantastically elaborate. ‘Makin’ It Hard’, another favourite of mine is fast, dirty, and best played immensely loud or not at all, swinging straight to the only song that hasn’t been performed live yet, ‘Wasting Time’. The song is about much preferring to party and do bugger all than be responsible and grown-up, and who can argue with that? It’s straightforward liberating rock that give you the irresistable urge to enjoy yourself. Preferable at a Stone Gods gig. ‘Knight Of The Living Dead’ is the heaviest track on the record, bitter and jilted, made for headbanging, but it doesn’t deserve to be sullied with the use of those dirty words “heavy metal”. Eurgh.
Just as ‘Burn The Witch’ needs to start a show, the anthemic ‘Oh Whereo My Beero?’ is a finisher, and not since Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ has laddish social life been so brilliantly observed in song. The theme of this tune encompasses many of the outstanding themes within the record; Englishness, undeniable masculinity (but not in an offensive way), and singalongability, adding subtle politics to the mix.
The album is, with the possible exception of the ‘Burn The Witch’ (which is arguably metaphorical) a testament to real life, the product of four blokes sitting around the room with a few acoustics, writing about what they know. It’s solid and human in feel, empathetic, and fun. Aside from that, it’s also brilliantly done; the mixing subtle and echoed where it needs to be, and aggressive elsewhere. For the faithful fans that have seen them live, you’ll be glad to know no major changes have been made to any song; a word change here, a tone alteration there, and some added vocal harmonies (YES!), all products of getting an explosive live act onto disc and making them slick, powerful and raw at the same time.
Listen to it on headphones. I guarantee that it sounds better coming in your ears.
‘Burn The Witch’
‘Don’t Drink The Water’
‘Defend Or Die’
‘You Brought A Knife To A Gunfight’
‘Where You Coming From’
‘I’m With The Band’
‘Start Of Something’
‘Makin’ It Hard’
‘Knight Of The Living Dead’
‘Oh Whereo My Beero?’