Deux – Hell City Glamours (self released)
So it’s goodbye from them. After 12 years of playing gin places, late-night dives and boltholes all around Australia, a US tour, two EPs and two albums, with one final lap of honour, Sydney's Hell City Glamours will be no more. “Deux” is the farewell long-player and it’s a pretty good way to go out.
HCG were always impossible to pigeonhole and “Deux” continues that tradition. You can draw your own conclusions from the headliners they’ve supported – New York Dolls. Sebastian Bach, Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley, Rose Tattoo and The Angels among them – but you’d still find an argument with the next person.
There’s nothing subtle or avant garde about what HCG do. It’s dirty ‘n’ hard rock and roll, a little glam, a lot metal. You sort of know what you’re going to get, but still get the feeling that keeping you guessing is part of the fun.
It must be said that attention to detail in the production department is top-shelf. The band’s obviously spent a lot of time getting the drum sounds right. The guitars from Oscar and Mo have been distinctly articulated although a little more leakage and grit might not have gone astray. The songs are solid and the playing sharper than a sharkskin suit in an outback bordello.
“Alright By Me” sounds like “Take Me To The River” in make-up. Which is to say there’s a passing resemblance. “Better Upstairs” skitters along on a slippery Jonno Barwick bass-line before a flurry of drums, guitars and sing-along chorus cuts in.
Opening track “Singapore Sling” struts like early Aerosmith and the snaky “Trainwreck” shimmies like a listenable Motley Crew track. The bouncy “Shake” stands out and the shuffling “Cruel Mary” deserves a mention, too.
Their recorded output might be scant in comparison with others of similar vintage but the more pertinent fact is that the vast majority of Australian bands are hard pressed to chalk up more than a couple of years, let alone a decade plus that long. While for mine “Deux” doesn’t scale the same heights as their self-titled debut, it should make the HCG fans happy. So that’s probably “Mission Accomplished.”