On the opening 30 seconds of Egomania, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported back to Apocalypse Dudes or Scandinavian Leather, such is the build-up. Complete with an electric riff over acoustic guitars, Hank Von Helvete proclaims “it’s time.” You know what? He’s right; it is time. Time for some rock ‘n’ roll that’s big, dumb and full of cum.
Now, it’s always baffled me how Steel Panther peddle cock rock and headline over the real dealers. Bollocks to the fakers, Hank Von Hell (spoken in terms of Alice Cooper when he was a band in the early 70s) is filling the appetite of those who earn a yesteryear thrill and want to party harder than Andrew W.K. in a white denim factory.
“King by day, queen by night” dribbles Hank on second single Blood. There’s a strong glittered platform shoe in 1970s UK glam rock, but then the horns add that extra layer of awesomeness. The track also cements the fact that the huge production is justified. It’s all go big or go home. If Blood forces an anthemic fist in the air, then first single Bum to Bum is the sound of an illegal banger car race on your grumpy neighbour’s freshly mown lawn. It’s all windows down, crash-crash, and boy does it feel good to fling a middle finger at the stiffs.
Sure, there’s cheese on display (see the vocal intro of Wild Boy Blues), but it’s good cheese. We’re not talking Tesco Value plastic cheese singles here. Okay, maybe we are, but us scumbags love a bit of dirt swilling around our wretched potty mouths. Many times throughout the album you sense more than a musical nod to the days when Mötley Crüe were half decent. Things threaten to kick start your heart on more than one occasion.
This brings us to the argument that Hank Von Hell is more Turbonegro than current Turbonegro. On Bombwalk Chic, with a tambourine shimmy over (welcome) guitar wankery and shouty pre-chorus vocals before a mid-breakdown to die for, this is familiar Turbo style songwriting territory. And so, the answer to the argument is a resounding yes.
Rock ‘n’ roll these days can lack fun, but there’s no chance of that here. Embrace Hank’s fucked up vision, for Egomania is one hell of an album. It’s 1980s hard rock brought up to speed. In white spandex attire with the compulsory eye make-up and top hat, Hank is still sexier than ever. Christ, he’s even sexier than that oiled up beast Ray Winstone on a retirement sun lounger. Oh, and I’m revealing no spoilers. You’ll have to get to epic closer Adios (Where’s My Sombrero?) all by yourself. There will be doubters but then there’ll always be doubters. To quote a Supersuckers lyric: “you say cliche, I say classic.” GET IT ON! Ginge Knievil
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