The latest from Birmingham, Alabama’s Dan Sartain – his 5th studio album – is a perfectly executed bank robbery of a record. Get in, get the job done, get out again, no messing about. As the official press release says “13 tracks delivered in under 19 minutes! That’s an average strike rate of a new tune every 1 minute and 30 seconds.”
Sartain’s sound has been described as everything from rockabilly to punk to – memorably – “hillbilly thrash”. One review of his Dan Sartain vs The Serpientes record said it sounds “as if Jonathan Richman wanted to be Hank Williams instead of Lou Reed”, Which about sums it up.
From the very first chord of opener “Nam Vet” til its breathless conclusion a whole one minute and thirteen seconds later I was transported to the world of noisy gigs in sweaty wee clubs; in other words the best kind of gigs. For “Now Now Now” young Dan is joined by singer/guitarist Jane Wieldin of the Go-Go’s to deliver arguably the album’s strongest track.
The ghosts of The Ramones are never far away in this record; indeed Johnny and Dee Dee appear to be looking over Dan’s shoulder most of the time checking to see if he’s got it just right. And he surely has. Neil Young and Crazy Horse wouldn’t have too much trouble joining in too – tracks like “Swap Meet” and “Boo Hoo Hoo” ring with a primal energy which is completely out of step with much of the manufactured output we hear from at the moment. The fact that most of the songs sound very much alike is only a negative point if you don’t like the Sartain sound; and if you don’t like that then there’s something far, far wrong. I’m thinking of getting one of the lyrics on a t-shirt, track 9 in fact “Fuck Friday, Fuck Saturday, Fuck Sunday. Fuck you.”
Keeping it real.