Hey Rock 'n' Roller - The DomNicks (Citadel)
Good things and small packages: Only seven tracks long, this debut from the Perth band led by Dom Mariani (DM3, ex-Stems and ex-Some Loves) and Nick Sheppard (a "Cut The Crap" Clash member) is a killer-no-filler collection of soulful rock and roll.
The DomNicks are a band built via a fortuitous geographical association; Nick Sheppard re-located from the UK to Perth, Western Australia, in the early '90s. As if you didn't know, Dom Mariani was a second generation leading light of the '60s pop-punk inspired musical generation that took root in that fine city in the late '70s and bloomed in the decade that followed.
One on the face of it, there's not much common ground between the latter-day Clash and the Stems. In reality - and as much as simplistic critics would like it to be otherwise- bands are rarely homogenous units with fixed influences. Soul music's a meeting place for lots of musicians and proves fertile turf for The DomNicks to explore.
There are no co-writes and Sheppard's contribution (six songs) outweighs Mariani's but the songs complement each other well, recalling a tough strain of Stax soul with a nod to traditional '50s rockers. It might be presumptuous on my part (I haven't seen them live) but it does seem to be more of a Nick than a Dom band, but Mariani's guitar playing is evident. The tunes sound measured and mature with a good deal of lyrical reflection on the advancement of years - especially Sheppard's "Party's Over (Part 2)" and world-weary "Hey Rock 'n' Roller".
"Busted" would be at home in Chicago with swinging horns and rousing chorus. "Not Connected" is its slightly tougher cousin and another keeper.
Of Dom's two tunes, "Honeypot" is a steamy horns-and-organ rocker with an irresistible bass-line and "Already There" comes across like a latter-day Stems track with some cracking lead-guitar.
Vocals are shared and The DomNicks are powered by the choice engine room of bassist Howard Shawcross (The Elks) and drummer Marz Frisina (The Chevelles) with guest sax, trumpet and organ players. Final mixdown was by the team of Wayne Connolly and Rob Younger so you know it sounds great.