Today sees the debut album release from powerhouse quartet Tattoo Molly. In Power, they have managed to harness the kind of energy that I strongly suspect is totally representative of what they deliver on stage.
Tattoo Molly – Power
Release Date: 10 November 2023
Words: Sophie James
Formed in Coventry in 2021, Tattoo Molly consist of vocalist Sam Wise, James Pilling on Guitar, Bassist Daniel O’Brien and Adam Gostick (formerly of fellow Cov Rockers The Unresolved) on Drums. I have yet to have the pleasure of seeing this band live. But purely on the basis of this release, it is an experience which I am eagerly anticipating.
Power opens with Damn Man. Its kick-ass riff is soon joined by the pummelling bass in staccato synchronicity with the drums. And as for Sam’s opening scream, Holy Moly!! A notch below blood-curdling but sufficiently powerful to knock you off your feet.
“Have you ever had one of those days? Story of my life in so many ways.” The soundscape is a fusion of early ’80s NWOBHM and the decade’s later sleaze, all enriched with an augmented bass and allied to a more contemporary, punk-like swagger. A perfect live opener, one certainly hopes Sam warms up sufficiently before tackling this.
Blue Collar Blues is an anthem to the Working Classes worldwide. Driven by James’ meaty mid-paced riff, I find myself increasingly drawn to the rolling thunder of Daniel’s flowing bass. At the same time, Sam’s conviction in embracing the lyrics that he has lived appears undeniable.
As James’ guitar positively pleads to be let off the leash. On the command ‘Geetar,’ we are treated to a blisteringly melodic 20 seconds of six-string magnificence. A segment I slid backwards repeatedly on my device.
Back In The Swing lives up to its title with a groove and a swagger reminiscent of the very best of US Sleaze Rockers and maintains the same feel of its predecessor. Containing an irresistible gang vocal style chorus, this morphs into a post-solo breakdown. This will provide a wonderful opportunity for some serious audience participation.
The kinda song that makes you want to dance with your beer and then leaves you with a silly grin right across your mush.
“I’m cool, calm, collected when the mood gets hectic.” Despite that opening line, Sick Of The Attitude sees the commentator slowly start to lose that cool. Retaining that seductive groove, it also sees a tilt towards funky Extreme territory, which blends in so wonderfully.
High Noon Saloon provides a pulsating soundtrack to the age-old barroom fracas. Sam’s commentary places you right at the heart of the action. James’ solo is just so representative of the role of the archetypal piano player as drinks, furniture, bodies, and total mayhem are occurring all around. Play this while you view any one of the countless Cowboy Saloon Slug outs for maximum impact. It’s one of the highlights of the album.
Outta Luck takes things down with an acoustic intro evolving into a humongous late ’80s-style power ballad. Stylistically, it is very GnR but with a more soulful vocal. With acoustic verse and full-blown chorus, it is the granularity of the guitar that prevents it from descending into sickly sweetness. Overall, it emphasises a more delicate take on their sound.
Then it’s Nursery Rhyme time. Take a wild guess which one. One wonders at what level of audience participation this draws live. “I can’t do right for doing wrong.”
In terms of pace, Black Sheep commences as probably the most leisurely cut on the album, but what it lacks in tempo, it compensates with the sheer mass and grind of the riff.
When James’ wailing solo enters the fray, it heralds something of a personality change in the number, with Sam subsequently launching a hip-hop-cadenced narrative. With so many musical textures contained therein, it is a testament to their compositional and arranging abilities that it has been pieced together so adeptly.
“I’ve been running all night in a police chase, they ain’t got me yet.” As one may expect, the final studio cut, Contraband, accelerates with the musical stylisation representing the high-speed pursuit referenced in the lyrics. A concise, punchy, punky shuffle that, in a movie, would undoubtedly be the soundtrack to a crash n’ burn scene.
The album then closes with a thrashing live rendition of Nail In The Coffin. I think this might just corroborate the grid levels of energy Tattoo Molly unleash on stage as it steams along with the momentum of Motӧrhead. One to whet the appetite for checking out live appearances.
Weighing in at just 34 minutes, Power is a short, sweet, but gloriously entertaining slab of high-energy, good-time rock ‘n’ roll. Stacked full of gritty riffs, soaring sinuous solos, pummelling bass, huge drums and vocals that provide an exuberant commentary from right at the heart of the action.
With the lyrics and the musical colours depicted, one cannot help but visualise the themes raised across the album. That in itself is a testimony to powerful, evocative art.
During my many playback sessions, I found myself continually hitting the repeat button, either after individual tracks or to replay the whole damn thing. One hopes that this will have the same effect on other listeners.
Tattoo Molly – Power
- Damn Man
- Blue Collar Blues
- Back in the Swing
- Sick of the Attitude
- High Noon Saloon
- Outta Luck
- Black Sheep
- Nail in the Coffin (Live)