Don’t Kill Rock ’n’ Roll - Simon Chainsaw (Kicking Records/Some Product/I Hate People)
He writes songs in his sleep and records them before breakfast so assembling an album while on a two-year hiatus, back in his birthplace Australia, is no big deal for Simon Chainsaw, the Brazil-based power-punk road warrior. “Don’t Kill Rock ’n’ Roll” finds him in familiar surroundings, matching pop melodies with razor riffs in much the same way his Vanilla Chainsaws did 20-plus years ago.
At first listen “Don’t Kill…” sounds like Simon’s most metallic record to date with the guitar-work from lead player Billy The Kill taking its cues from Messrs Page, Van Halen and Blackmore. Rest easy. Chainsaw’s not about to break out the hair extensions. It’s turned up to 11 and there’s no mistaking the punk rock underbelly of this riff-heavy 12-song beast.
The title (and opening) track makes its point quickly enough. Fast, driving back-beat and urgent guitars. Licks sprinkled over the top before Chainsaw’s trademark gritty vocal kicks in. Energy to burn. Hooky chorus of course. And a sentiment we can all relate to.
This is not two-chord thrash. These are songs. Simon rarely diverges from the pop form of the punk genre but it’s always served up with crunching guitars, a melody or two and driving rhythms.
“Don’t Kill…“ runs the lyrical gamut from working under capitalism for a living (“I Gotta Pay”), girls (“Don’t Deserve My Love”, “Hanging Me Out To Dry”) and existing (“Rules of Life”.) Musically, “Never Say Never” and the title tune are stand-outs that could stand up in most company. These are songs that would translate to the live context. That’s their natural habitat.
If you’re a fan you know what you’re going to get. Me, I’d love to hear Simon really stretch himself, throw a curve ball and make a different album, maybe with a canny producer who has something out of the box to bring to the table. Until that occurs, this is pretty good stuff.