The Hot Rats - Turn Ons
The Hot Rats are a covers band made up of two-thirds of Supergrass (Gaz & Danny). Instead of trying to show off their eclectic tastes with a selection of unknown tracks re-imagined reggae-style, they’ve picked twelve indisputable classics and simply belted out stripped-down, balls-out versions. They’ve even roped in production mastermind Nigel Godrich with his tape recorder in one hand and his zippo in the other (held aloft for the slow numbers).
If there is a track on here you’ve not heard before you need to stop reading this and go shopping for records today. They’ve unashamedly raided the archives of the classics: The Doors, Bowie, Pink Floyd, The Kinks and Sex Pistols are among many that feature on Turn Ons. But let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to play these songs? Mick Ronson’s perfect guitar intro to ‘Queen Bitch’ could repeat for months before even starting to irritate. Steve Jones’ bouncy riff that underpins 'E.M.I.' is something every band wishes they had written – so the Rats do the next best thing and play it like puppies on space hoppers. Costello’s ‘Pump It Up’? I mean, Come on!
For the bulk of the album they don’t deviate far from the rock and roll roots and it’s only really on their version of the Beastie Boy’s ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Right (To Party)’ they are forced back to the drawing board. Answering the question of how would Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend approach it, 1965 collides with 1986 creating an anthem appropriate for any generation: a high-pitched, ever-growing psyche-out that would satisfy any alien visitors pondering the mysteries of puberty.
You’ll ask yourself is this too close to pub rock? Are Gaz & Danny being too self-indulgent? Don’t I own these records already? The answer to all of these is probably 'Yes', but it’s the energy and love that’s poured into every track that makes everything click. As each track comes to a close the desire to skip back to the start for one-more-play speaks volumes.
A thoroughly enjoyable, magical un-mysterious tour through rock and roll history.