Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Datsuns - Headstunts

The Datsuns
Cooking Vinyl

New Zealand’s Datsuns had to fight an unwarranted hype machine when they first arrived on the scene a few years ago – not because they didn’t have talent, but simply because the “Rock is back!” juggernaut back then was so ill-informed (rock never went away, ya doofuses) that it made them easy to dismiss. But the quartet has persevered with its garage glam stomp and made it to album #4. Headstunts is, like the band’s prior output, fairly uneven. Witty, ass-kicking cuts like Highschool Hoodlums, Eye of the Needle and Hey! Paranoid People! (What’s in Your Head?) sit alongside more generic offerings that achieve acceptable solidity but little sparkle. The band also makes some inroads to psychedelia – the resulting Somebody Better indicates that more trips down this lane might be advisable. The Datsuns have long suffered the common fate of rock & roll acts of this stripe: their live show flattens their recorded work like a steamroller moving over a dandelion. But that’s to be expected. One of these days someone will compile a smartly-chosen Datsuns best-of, and the band will finally hit the sweet spot on a consistent basis.

- Michael Toland

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