The Speedways’ bio reads “one album, one gig, the end.” That’s the vision of Nottingham’s Matt Julian, former guitarist with The Breakdowns. Well, it’s a tick in box number one as Just Another Regular Summer landed on 27th May with little fanfare. Bang! There it is, ‘ave it! If like me you have a penchant for 1960s girls groups and heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll sprinkled with power pop, then The Speedways’ LP will be the soundtrack to your summer. Slip off your beat-up leather jacket and kick off your tattered Chuck Taylor’s, because there’s some heartbreaking to be done.
Just Another Regular Summer is one of those albums where it’s hard to pick a stand-out track. Mainly due to the fact that everything reeks of a time when the 45 was king. Shining examples being the bubblegum melody on Seen Better Days, the lush chorus hook on Don’t Tell Me, or the sound of a lost 60s 7” courtesy of One Kiss Can Lead To Another. Talking of kisses, remember when Johnny Thunders tackled The Shangri-Las’ Great Big Kiss? That’s a mighty fine Speedways reference point if ever there was one. Couple it with the Compulsive Gamblers’ Stop & Think It Over and that’s the rock ‘n’ roll hybrid I’m talking about. And if the heartbreak element wasn’t enough, Matt goes full-tilt Tom Petty on In Common With You; switching from New York’s The Heartbreakers to Gainesville’s version, if you please.
The Speedways capture a moment in time when Joey Ramone wanted to be your boyfriend. With Julian penning all tracks it could be argued that this is a one man gang mentality. I hope it’s not just the one gig before imploding as the manifesto states. The gig in question is booked at the Some Weird Sin / Vive Le Rock presented “Pump It Up” power pop weekender in London on July 28/29 with The Barracudas, Dirty Fences, Role Models, Faz Waltz and more. It would be a shame if things were left to die so quickly, but in lyrical reflection I guess that’s kind of the point. As the big chords fade on Reunion In The Rain, there’s only one thing for it. Restart the Cortina engine, keep the windows down, rewind the cassette back to the start and drive off into the hazy evening sun with more thoughts of what might’ve been. Stop press… we have another album of the year contender. Ginge Knievil
Check out The Speedways here
Full info on the “Pump It Up” weekender can be found here