Here's a cool idea: A band that straddles the fence between garage rock and hard-rock. It has no gimmick, save that the band members all call themselves "Datsun." They don't have funny costumes. They don't have a theme. They don't openly imitate retro bands, though they are influenced. They love adrenaline-charged guitar'n'bass rock, and that's what they play. What do you call that? I call it the roots of rock'n'roll -- back when it was all about the turbocharged music.
After a solid self-titled debut, the New Zealand rockers return with an equally solid sophomore album, "Outta Sight Outta Mind." They still have that wonderful bass-heavy, slightly fuzzy sound, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin at their peak -- which isn't hurt by the fact that John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin) produced "Outta Sight."
They may not have the flamboyance of the Darkness or the acidic sharpness of the Hives, but the Datsuns have that stripped-down rock flavor. "Blacken My Thumb" opens the album on a fast-driving, hard-rock note, followed up by the cascading riffs of "Lucille," or the percussion-heavy catchiness of "Hong Kong Fury." They sound a bit softer in songs like "What I've Lost," which still rocks as it talks about a girl's pretty face.
Musically they're a lot tighter this time around than they were in "The Datsuns." And they aren't trying to be ironic or too cool. They're just rocking, and they sound pretty passionate about it -- snares, electric guitars and roaring bass all sound ready to explode. Everything runs at a breakneck pace, except "What I've Lost," which is the sweetest song they've done... and it isn't even a ballad.
Definitely the themes aren't too original -- it's mostly about pulling girls and playing rock. These songs were apparently written on the road in mid-tour, so there isn't too much more than that. It's not incredible, but it's definitely not badly written either. It's just... well, it sounds like a rock tour from the inside of the bus.
Is it wildly original and innovative, or multi-dimensional and deep? Not too much. Rather, the Datsuns refine their sound and give it a new jolt, harkening back to when rock was a way of life. In short, it's fun and it rocks.