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Review: Biters – ‘The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be’

BitersAlbum number two for hotly-tipped Atlanta natives – Biters. With an acclaimed debut album under their belts, and plaudits ringing in their ears from the recent shows opening for Blackberry Smoke, the time is right for the four-piece to make their mark. The passport might say Atlanta, Georgia, but the roots are very much steeped in early 70’s London. Strangely enough, the album that I was listening to before this one landed in my lap was the T.Rex classic ‘Slider’. If ever there was a young band today extolling the virtues of Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Slade, and The Sweet through their own music, then it’s these guys.

‘The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be’ really is a check-your-pulse album. If your feet aren’t tapping, or your hands aren’t clapping, check your pulse. The phrase “difficult second album” is thrown out the window, as levels reached on debut album ‘Electric Blood’ are surpassed with ease. The running time nudges just over the 30 minutes mark, so the band don’t outstay their welcome. Opener, ‘Let It Roll’, begins with one of my favourite sounds in rock, a buzzing amp and a guitar plugging in. It still makes the hair stand up, even to this day. All the components that make a Biters live show so memorable are evident here. Stomping drum sound, massive hooks, and lashings and lashings of groovy guitar riffs, all wrapped up in the perfect leather-clad bundle. Frontman, Tuk Smith’s love of British glam rock comes bursting out the speakers on ‘Stone Cold Love’. It’s Bolan reincarnated, but without being contrived or fake. This is as organic as tributes come. Anyone of us old enough to remember, will have flashbacks to a time when Top Of The Pops was famous for weekly fixes of glam, rather than creepy DJs. ‘Calling You Home’ is all about the heavy, beefy bass licks that give the band the solid foundations to express themselves musically. There are so many earworms on this one, and you will be humming the chorus for days on end. Job done.

‘Don’t Turn This Good Heart Bad’ features a nice homage to another one of the band’s influences, Alice Cooper. The guitar sound tips a hat to ‘Be My Lover’ from one of the most complete albums ever, ‘Killer’ from the original Alice Cooper band. Influences are prominently worn on sleeves throughout the album, and the love seeps through. ‘Gypsy Rose’ is the glammiest of glam tracks that you will hear this year, a song so steeped in the 70’s that even blackouts and the three day week couldn’t stop it being made. Kids these days, they don’t know they’re blah blah blah. ‘Vulture City’ is more modern day influenced lyrically, but unless my ears are playing up, is there a nod to both Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath in the opening line? Tuk slows it down on the piano-led ‘Hollywood’. A stunning example of how to write the perfect “power ballad” without being cheesy or formulaic. It’s a soaring few minutes that roll around the brain long after the song fades out. ‘Chasin’ The Feeling’ ups the tempo before leading into the closing track ‘Goin’ Back To Georgia’, an open love letter that could be aimed at their home state or whatever is waiting for them at home. Simplistic, with a beautiful natural vibe, it’s a fitting way to end a buoyant album so full of life.

Usually the hype surrounding a band will trip them up, but sometimes, just sometimes, the hype is worthy. This is one such moment where it is deserved.

‘The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be’ is available May 19th through Earache Records, More Biters information on Facebook

Review: Dave Stott

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